As the state continues to find new ways to combat Covid-19, the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri is offering assistance to any families or individuals that have fallen onto hard times. Whether these circumstances are due to the outbreak or to the tornado that passed through Jefferson City last year, the organization is here to help wherever possible and to remove any obstacles keeping them from reaching the community.

“Families across The Food Bank's service area are facing new hardships as more and more actions are taken against the spread of COVID-19. Schools have shuttered, removing a regular source of nutrition for food-insecure students, and many businesses have temporarily closed, leaving people with less income to buy groceries or pay bills. The importance of our work grows daily,” Regional Coordinator Jami Wade explained. “That's why we are continually adapting to the situation in our community as it develops. We are working closely with The United Way to make sure our mobile food pantries are safe and available during the pandemic.”

While the Food Bank has had to alter some of their procedures in recent months, that has not stopped them from serving their meals to the community. With the assistance of volunteers, the organization has been able to carry out essentials for the county and even public schools.

“We have had to modify some of their standard procedures but with the help of our volunteers and community leaders, we have been able to continue weekly with our mobiles,” Wade said. “We are also working closely with the Public Schools to make sure Buddy Packs are sent home to the almost 750 kids, right here in Cole County, that rely on those each weekend.”

Unfortunately, all fundraising events held by the Food Bank have been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak. With that in mind, this has led the organization into finding new and innovative ways to gain funds as they utilize social media and reach out to local personalities.

“Right now, we are working on replacing our annual fundraising events,” Wade said. “Two of our largest yearly events, Float Your Boat and Stamp Out Hunger (in partnership with United States Postal Service) have been cancelled due to Covid-19. We are working on some pretty creative fundraising. On May 1st we partnered with former MU Football player Chase Daniels for ‘Chase Chats’ in which he matched $25,000 in funds donated to The Food Bank that day. Locally, we tied that in with piano player Mike Michelson and a Facebook Live performance in which all proceeds donated that night were coupled with Chase Chats and matched.”

For 2020, the Food Bank’s main goal is to offer as much assistance as they can in the face of Covid-19 as they continue to support those in need inside 32 counties. However, any group or individual that would like to help assist the Food Bank as they serve the state can do so by making sure to donate. According to Wade, any donations are greatly appreciated as they would boost the organization’s spending ability.

“(Our goals are) to continue to support our 32 counties in addressing food insecurity. Food Banks across the nation are predicting increased need due to Covid-19 so it is our goal to be prepared for the rise in those needing assistance in the communities we serve,” continued Wade. “(The community can help) by making donations. Donations are used efficiently and we use our bulk purchasing power to buy more food per dollar than possible for any individual at a grocery store. It’s all part of the effort to feed the 100,000 individuals who rely on our services every month.”

Agencies such as First Christian Church Food Pantry, Healing House, the Samaritan Center, two Salvation Army locations and a multitude of others occupying Cole County, there are also many others depending on the organization throughout the state.The Food Bank would like the community to know that they take pride in helping lift-up those in need as they offer no charge for partners or other agencies.

 “The Food Bank works with 140 partner agencies and 150 schools across 32 counties,” said Wade. “We are proud to be the only food bank in Missouri to provide food at no charge to partner organizations, including food pantries, soup kitchens, women's and children's shelters, veteran's shelters and more.”

If people would like to donate to The Food Bank of Central and Northeast Missouri, go to https://sharefoodbringhope.org/donate.