Co-Mo Electric Cooperative donated a $5,000 grant to the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri's Buddy Pack program Monday, Oct. 14.
The grant, through a charitable program of one of the cooperative's lenders, will be used to provide food to children in Co-Mo's service territory who might otherwise go hungry. It is the second year the cooperative has passed on a $5,000 grant from CoBank's Sharing Success program.
"There is so much need out there, and one of our main focuses as a cooperative is the children in the communities we serve," said Ken Johnson, Co-Mo's CEO and general manager. "We are blessed to have great partners in the cooperative world who can help us meet that need.
The Sharing Success program was started at the beginning of 2012 to coincide with the International Year of Cooperatives, a worldwide recognition of the role cooperatives have played and continued to play in the betterment of rural communities across the globe.
Approximately 55,000 students in the Food Bank's service area qualify for free and reduced-priced school meals. For many of them, breakfast and lunch at school offer the only source of reliable nutrition and they are at risk of hunger over the weekend.
To alleviate this risk, The Food Bank partners with elementary schools to provide Buddy Packs to school children. Buddy Packs are backpacks filled with kid-friendly, nutritious food that students take home over the weekend or holiday periods to supplement their meals when there is not enough for them to eat at home. After the weekend, the kids bring their empty Buddy Pack back to school to be refilled by local volunteers.
During the 2012-13 school year, the Buddy Pack program helped feed more than 6,700 children each week.
The grant is just one way through which Co-Mo has supported the Buddy Pack program during the past three years. The cooperative is in the midst of an ongoing food drive competition with other electric cooperatives. Members can drop off kid-friendly food at either of the cooperative's offices, in Tipton or Laurie, during normal business hours. In addition, the cooperative sold "I Survived Snowstorm Rocky" t-shirts to its members in the wake of the five-day outage in February in March, and donated all the profits, more than $2,000, to the Buddy Pack program.
For more information about the Buddy Pack program, go to sharefoodbringhope.org.