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Missouri agriculture raises more than 1.2 million meals for Drive to Feed Kids

photo courtesy Missouri Farmers Care

Missouri Farmers Care, agricultural leaders and partners—including MFA Incorporated—joined together for the 2023 Drive to Feed Kids, which culminated Saturday, Aug. 19, at the Missouri State Fair. In total, resources for 1,200,389 meals were raised for Feeding Missouri in the year-long campaign. Over the past eight years, this collaborative partnership has raised resources to provide more than 12 million meals for children and families across the state.

“Farmers and ranchers work 365 days a year to responsibly and sustainably produce abundance from our farms and ranches,” said Ashley McCarty, Missouri Farmers Care Foundation executive director. “The Drive to Feed Kids addresses the disparities where that abundance doesn’t reach our neighbors’ dinner tables.”

Food insecurity affects one in seven Missouri children and increases to one in three kids in some rural parts of the state. The Drive to Feed Kids was launched in 2017 with the goal of building collaborative partnerships among non-profit organizations, farmers and agricultural businesses committed to addressing this issue. Donations are distributed statewide through Feeding Missouri, the association of Missouri’s six regional food banks.

During Missouri FFA’s Day of Service on Aug. 15 at the State Fair, more than 160,000 meals were packed for families in need. In addition, fairgoers contributed non-perishable food items and monetary donations during Missouri Farmers Care’s $2 Tuesday, Missouri FFA donated fresh produce from student projects on display, and elected officials and agricultural leaders packed meal boxes on Governor’s, Legislators’ and Judges’ Day. These efforts resulted in donations equating to nearly 60,900 meals.

The state fair capped off the year-long campaign that included other partnerships with agricultural youth programs. This spring, the 4-H Feeding Missouri campaign provided 711,286 meals, and Missouri 4-H clubs and FFA chapters statewide expanded their local impact through matching mini-grants awarded by the Drive.

Food banks consistently report that protein is the most requested item for families. Through the drive’s Hogs for Hunger initiative, swine exhibitors and producers were invited to commit pigs to feed neighbors in need. Exhibitors and producers donated 33,371 servings of pork this year.

READ MORE from the October Today's Farmer Magazine

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