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Day Of Service Helping Feed Missourians

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September 10, 2010

COLUMBIA, Mo. - As part of the September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance, the Missouri Community Service Commission is asking people to join together and help feed their neighbors. The commission has initiated a statewide online food drive that gets under way Saturday.

Scott Baker, state director of the Missouri Food Bank Association, says the Show Me State ranks fifth in the nation for childhood hunger, and sixth for food insecure homes - which means families struggle to put food on the table.

These statistics demonstrate that food banks need continued support, Baker says.

"We need to make sure that the safety net that is in place is strong enough to help those who don't know where their next meal is coming from."

Baker says monetary donations will be shared among six food banks and more than 1,500 pantries, shelters and kitchens throughout the state.

Cash donations are appreciated, Baker stresses, because food banks are able to stretch those dollars much farther than the average consumer can.

"Food banks are very, very good at leveraging what cash donations we do receive. A dollar can acquire about 5 pounds of food, which is way better than you or I could do on our own in a grocery store. "

Baker says he doesn't see the need for food assistance to level off anytime soon because of Missouri's high unemployment rate of nine percent.

"There doesn't seem to be any fix in the short term, but hopefully as unemployment starts to stabilize and get better, and people start to get back on their feet, we'll start to see people becoming more self-sufficient."

People may contribute to a local food bank directly, or give online at www.feedingmissouri.org.


Heather Claybrook, Public News Service - MO