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Drive to Feed Kids donates 1 million meals in 2020

Like many activities in 2020, the Missouri Farmers Care (MFC) Drive to Feed Kids looked a little different due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the mission—to raise awareness of childhood food insecurity and support for food banks across the state—became even more critical.

“Farmers and ranchers work 365 days a year to produce abundance from our farms and ranches,” said Ashley McCarty, MFC executive director. “The Drive to Feed Kids addresses the disconnect where that abundance doesn’t reach our neighbors’ dinner tables. We are again heartened by the gener­osity of Missouri agriculture that shines through the Drive to Feed Kids.”

According to Feeding Missouri, the association of the state’s six regional food banks, more than 800,000 Missourians faced food insecurity before COVID-19. The association estimates that number has now increased by 39% to 1.1 million Missourians, including 335,260 children.

“In 2020, that need was greater than we’ve ever seen,” said Scott Baker, state director of Feeding Missouri. “As demand has spiked at food banks and pantries across the state, so, too, has the help provided by Missouri’s farmers.”

Even after adjusting to the challenges of 2020, the year­long Drive to Feed Kids still resulted in 1 million meals for food-insecure Missourians. The program benefited from several key partnerships and programs, including:

  • MFC and the Missouri Pork Association created the Pork Partnership to help bridge the gap between families in need and producers who faced a reduction in process­ing availability due to coronavirus-related slowdowns. All told, Missouri farmers provided 69,670 pounds of ground pork to Feeding Missouri.
  • Both Missouri 4-H and FFA initiated major community ser­vice activities to support the Drive to Feed Kids. This past spring, 4-H members provided 297,132 meals during a four-month 4-H Feeding Missouri campaign. Even though FFA members were not able hold their service day at the Missouri State Fair, a mini-grant program was created in which 63 FFA chapters each received $300 to fund food insecurity projects.
  • Missourians met a 50,000-meal challenge by giving indi­vidual donations. These contributions, along with $1,145 raised by FCS Financial employees, allowed Missouri ag­riculture to reach its goal. Missouri Soybean Association matched every dollar contributed to the challenge for a grand total of $10,000, providing the purchasing power of 50,000 meals.

MFA Incorporated is among industry sponsors of Missouri Farmers Care’s Drive to Feed Kids. To learn more, visit MOFarmersCare.com/drive.

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