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Drive to Feed Kids exceeds expectations in its 2021 hunger-relief campaign

After activities were curbed due to COVID-19 last year, the 2021 Missouri Farmers Care (MFC) Drive to Feed Kids campaign came back in fullDrive To Feed KidsFans at the Hank Williams Jr. concert, which closed out the Missouri State Fair on Aug. 21, react enthusiastically as Jeff Houts, Missouri Farmers Care chairman, announces that this year’s Drive to Feed Kids raised resources for 2,015,088 meals. force, raising enough resources for a record-setting 2,015,088 meals to help feed hungry children across the state.

“Over 10 years ago, the leadership of Missouri Farmers Care saw there was a gap between the hard work of our farmers and ranchers producing food year-round for con­sumers and what ended up on Missourians’ dinner tables,” said MFC Executive Director Ashley McCarty. “They felt called to fill in that gap on behalf of those who couldn’t do anything to change their situation. Out of that effort evolved the Drive to Feed Kids.”

According to Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, 13.8% of Missourians were considered food insecure in 2021. Among children, that number is even higher—15%.

“There are thousands of hard-working Missourians who can’t make ends meet and don’t have enough to feed their families. That’s just a reality in Missouri,” said Scott Baker, director of Feeding Missouri, an association of the state’s six regional food banks. “However, another reality is the heart and commitment of Missouri’s farmers to do all they can to help neighbors in need. The impact of the Drive to Feed Kids campaign is substantial, and we are truly grateful.”

This past year, the program benefited from several key partnerships and programs, culminating with activities at the Missouri State Fair:

  • On Aug. 17, more than 700 Missouri FFA Association members and agricultural leaders came together at the fair to pack 203,544 family meals for the Missouri FFA Food Insecurity Day. They exceeded the ambitious goal of 200,000 meals in honor of the state’s bicentennial.
  • Gov. Mike Parson and First Lady Teresa Parson, along with Missouri elected officials and agricultural leaders, joined the cause on Aug. 19, packing 500 share boxes at the State Fair to provide nourishment to central Missou­ri families in need.
  • The Hogs for Hunger program connected Missouri pig farmers, 4-H and FFA exhibitors to meat processors and local food banks. More than 900 pounds of ground pork was provided by Missouri State Fair swine exhibitors, and a partnership with Feeding Missouri has contributed an additional 205,883 pounds of high-quality protein to all six regional food banks. Missouri pig farmers can still donate to their local food bank through this program. Missouri Farmers Care Foundation will reimburse $1 per pound donated to cover processing fees.
  • Missouri 4-H members donated 356,665 meals during their hunger-relief campaign that ran January through April 2021, and they packed an additional 500 meal boxes for veterans at the Missouri State Fair.
  • Fairgoers participated by bringing non-perishable food items and monetary donations for the Missouri Farmers Care Food Drive on $2 Tuesday at the Fair. Through these activities and a generous canned food donation by Woods Supermarket, more than 10,000 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.

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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