Food bank's Buddy Pack program faces cuts, elimination

The Buddy Pack program at the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri is in trouble.By Sarah Tucker (Columbia, Mo.)

Started in 2005, the Buddy Pack program provides a backpack of nutritious food to 8,600 kids on weekends in 32 Missouri counties. Due to increasing food and fuel costs, the program is facing cuts and possible elimination.

To support the program, the food bank is starting the “Adopt a Buddy” initiative, where donors “sponsor” a buddy pack for a child. Food Bank Communications Coordinator Rachel Ellersieck says there is some urgency behind the initiative. “At the beginning of the school year, we estimated that it would only cost $100 to feed a child for an entire school year, but food and fuel costs have just skyrocketed for us," Ellersieck says. "They’ve increased anywhere from 15 to 30%.”
 Donors can “sponsor” a buddy pack for a child by donating $180 for the year or $15 per month.