Missouri agriculture made it a mission this summer to combat food insecurity through the Missouri Farmers Care (MFC) Drive to Feed Kids campaign. In its second year, this collaborative partnership raised resources to supply nearly 1.8 million meals for hungry children across the state.
“This event raises awareness of food insecurity faced by Missouri school kids, especially in rural areas,” said Dr. Alan Wessler, Missouri Farmers Care chairman and MFA Incorporated vice president of feed operations and animal health. “It also speaks to the heart of Missouri’s agricultural community, showcasing the tremendous work of farmers and ranchers who provide food for the world.”
Feeding Missouri, the association of the state’s six regional food banks, estimates that food insecurity affects one in five Missouri children. This number increases to one in three young people in rural areas.
On Aug. 14, MFC partnered with the Missouri FFA Association for Food Insecurity Service Day at the Missouri State Fair. More than 650 FFA members and agricultural leaders packed 100,800 meals to feed families of up to six people. The meals were distributed to Missouri’s regional food banks.
“Food Insecurity Day served as a chance for Missouri FFA members to experience service in action,” said Paxton Dahmer, Missouri FFA president. “It was wonderful to see so many members excited about helping those in need. They left energized and ready to take their own service to the next level, truly living out the fourth line of our FFA Motto ‘Living to Serve.’”
Gov. Mike Parsons and First Lady Teresa Parsons, along with Missouri’s elected officials and agricultural leaders, joined the cause on Thursday, Aug. 16, at the fair. Together they packed nearly 2,000 backpack meals that provided weekend nourishment for students in Pettis, Benton and Cooper counties during the first month of school.
The Drive to Feed Kids campaign culminated Aug. 18 with a check presentation of $145,165 to Feeding Missouri.
Fairgoers also participated in the MFC Food Drive Day by bringing non-perishable food donations. In the fair’s Can Creation Contest, teams used canned food items donated by Woods Supermarket. Through these activities, a total of 18,932 pounds of non-perishable food was donated to local pantries. In addition, Missouri FFA donated fresh produce from FFA student projects on display at the fair.
“As people become more aware of the hunger problem in Missouri, they’re stepping up to do something about it, and our farmers are leading the way,” said Scott Baker, state director of Feeding Missouri. “The impact from this partnership will be felt by many of our neighbors in need.”