Charitable Food Network Urgently Needs Community Support

Columbia, MO (March 17, 2020) — Missouri’s food banks are experiencing a surge in demand as more people seek help during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The charitable food network is adopting new policies and practices to meet demand, but the safety net is experiencing unprecedented strain.

  • Many people are seeking help for the first time. Hourly wage workers and others who suddenly find their incomes negatively impacted are seeking help. Many may not even know what resources are available. These people are needing emergency food assistance in addition to the population already needing services.
  • School closures. Many Missouri children receive their nutrition from school meals. With more schools closing, food banks are attempting to help fill gaps in childhood feeding. This also affects backpack programs, where emergency food is sent home with children each weekend. This is food that is provided by the food banks and distributed by schools.
  • More volunteers are needed, but more people are staying home. One of the ways we can distribute large quantities of food is through volunteers both at the food banks and local agencies. However, more people are understandably hesitant to join in group volunteer efforts. We are asking anyone who is healthy and able to contact their local food bank for volunteer opportunities.
  • Fundraisers and food drives canceled. Like everyone else, we have had to cancel scheduled fundraisers and food drives. That means fewer resources during a time of higher demand.
  • Normal distribution methods impacted. Most emergency food is distributed in group settings like food pantries. We are working to find ways to distribute much-needed food while also controlling the number of people on-site to collect food at any one time. One method is mobile and drive-through options, but these can be more expensive and require additional volunteers.

 Community support is critical right now. Here are ways you can help:

  • Donate money. Every dollar given to Missouri’s food banks can provide at least 10 meals to families in need. It will help us get the food out more effectively and efficiently. People can give by texting FEEDMO20 to 44321.
  • Volunteer. If you are healthy and able, please contact your local food bank and inquire about volunteer needs. A link to your area’s food bank can be found here:
  • Do not hoard food. Many of us have stocked up on essential supplies, but others of us do not have the resources to do so. Clearing out shelves at local stores causes a shortage, which increases the need.

If you, or someone you know, needs emergency food assistance, please visit this website for more information on help available in your community:

We recognize that this unfolding situation has everyone anxious, but Missouri’s food banks need your help. Financial support will be necessary for food banks to meet the increased need they will be facing, as well as for the purchase of additional supplies for cleaning and with help in prepacking boxes of food for delivery. Please help spread the word and do what you can during this challenging time.

 Text to give: FEEDMO20 to 44321

Find your food bank: