Five Moniteau County elementary schools benefit from The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri's Buddy Pack Program, which send child-friendly meals home each weekend with children who qualify for free or reduced-price meals at school.
The Buddy Pack Program seeks immediate donations, which will be matched by Missouri Employers Mutual, up to $25,000, until Aug. 11.
As a new school year begins, the food bank program expects to serve more than 7,500 students in more than 160 Missouri schools.
The cost of a weekly Buddy Pack throughout the school year for one child is $180.
This is the Buddy Pack's 14th year and demand remains high, the food bank said.
One in five children in Central and Northeast Missouri struggle with hunger on a daily basis, and more than half of the students in mid-Missouri public schools qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches. Research suggests that hungry children are more likely to have lower test scores, miss school and repeat a grade entirely.
Mail a donation to The Food Bank, 2101 Vandiver Dr., Columbia, MO, 65251 to contribute to MEM's campaign to end childhood hunger. For gifts to benefit Moniteau County, donors should comment "Buddy Pack-Moniteau County" in their check memo.