|JEFFERSON CITY, MO – Missouri farm families and agricultural businesses work diligently each year to harvest and crops and livestock they raise. Advancements in science and technology equip Missouri farmers and ranchers to responsibly feed a growing world. Statewide agriculture, forestry and related industries generated a staggering $88.4 billion in economic impact in 2016, and fed families across the state, nation and globe. Despite our ability to produce abundantly, not all Missouri families see that abundance reach their dinner tables. In reality, 1.2 million Missourians, including 1 of 5 children in rural Missouri, face food insecurity.
Missouri agriculture is partnering again in 2020 to raise awareness of food insecurity and raise resources for the Feeding Missouri network of food banks across the state through the Missouri Farmers Care (MFC) Drive to Feed Kids. Launched January 1, 2020, 4-H Feeding Missouri, the successful challenge Missouri 4-H began in 2019, will collaborate with the 2020 MFC Drive to Feed Kids.
“The partnership of these efforts makes a real difference in the lives of children across Missouri,” said Dan Cassidy, secretary of Missouri Farmers Care and chair of the Drive to Feed Kids. “All told in 2019, these efforts raised resources for 4.3 million meals for hungry Missouri families. We welcome 4-H Feeding Missouri to the Missouri Farmers Care Drive to Feed Kids collaboration. The biggest impact of serving others is the change that service makes in each volunteer leader.”
Through 4-H Feeding Missouri, 4-H members and their families throughout the state will engage in a friendly service competition to collect food and monetary donations and log volunteer hours. Resources raised during the challenge will remain in communities throughout the state, strengthening the safety net for neighbors in need. The 4-H initiative begins January 1 and concludes April 30, 2020.
We are excited to partner with Missouri Farmers Care,” said Lupita Fabregas, Director of Missouri 4-H. “It lets our 4-H family lend a hand and educate our communities about food insecurity. When Missourians help Missourians fight hunger, it fills a need in our local communities. We believe we are all one team in Missouri fighting hunger.”
The Drive to Feed Kids will culminate at the Missouri State Fair with a variety of service events. The 2019 effort raised $175,000 for Feeding Missouri, collected over 15,000 pounds of food and packed 1,740 backpacks for food insecure students. The Drive partnered with the Missouri FFA Association for Missouri FFA Food Insecurity Service Day when more than 750 FFA members and agricultural leaders spent the day packing 128,460 meals to feed families of up to six people. The resources were distributed statewide to Feeding Missouri’s partner regional food banks.
“The Drive to Feed Kids is gaining momentum,” concluded Dan Cassidy. “Our collaboration will continue working to call attention to the issue of food insecurity in Missouri and equipping Missourians to roll up their sleeves and join in to make tomorrow a little brighter for struggling families in our communities.”