Concert highlights the growing number of hungry children in sout - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Concert highlights the growing number of hungry children in southeast Missouri

POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) -

A non-profit organization hopes to raise more awareness and funds for children who go hungry. 

The Bread Shed, based out of Poplar Bluff, is looking for more support to help give one of the basic essentials of life to children. Food.  

For five years now the Bread Shed has supplied backpacks full of food for children over the weekends. Every Friday, they supply children in schools around Butler County with food. What started with 50 backpacks given out per week five years ago has grown to 205 a week. 

The backpacks are given out to the students every week throughout the school year. That is a total of 7,380 backpacks. 

Vicky Greer, an organizer with The Bread Shed, says these kids are starving on the weekends. 

"The children on Monday were different," Greer said. "They were hungry on Monday mornings. They couldn't pay attention. They weren't as interested. Some of the children got the free breakfast and they were gobbling their breakfast and their lunch. And they were hungry." 

Funding for this program is getting harder each year as they now spend roughly $60,000 to provide this food for all of these children. 

"It is rising," Greer said. "Economy, people losing their jobs, various things and everything is more expensive."

Not only does the Bread Shed give out backpacks, but they also visit Doniphan, Ellsinore and Poplar Bluff to hand out food for families who are less fortunate. 

Greer says the southeast Missouri area seems a little poorer than the rest of the state.

"You can also see it in certain areas of the cities," Greer said. "One school needs more backpacks than other school does. It's just simply the areas."

The SEMO Food Bank also teams up with the Bread Shed and helps supply them food for the backpacks for kids.

Southeast Missouri has some of the worst numbers of the state in regards to people that go hungry.

According to Feeding America, in the 16 counties of southeast Missouri, there are 21,100 children that are food insecure. In the state of Missouri, that number is 304,810.

Food insecure means the person or child doesn't know where their next meal is coming from.

According to the Southeast Missouri Food Bank, in Butler County, the food insecure rate for the entire population is at 16.6 percent. This is roughly 7,090 people in the county. The food insecure rate for children is at 25 percent and affects 2,490 kids.

In Pemiscot, the food insecure rate for the entire population is at 23.9 percent. This is roughly 4,410 people in the county. The food insecure rate for children is at 28.5 percent. That's 1,470 kids. 

In Ripley County, the food insecure rate for the entire population is at 17.6 percent. This is roughly 2,470 people in the county. The food insecure rate for children is at 31.1 percent which is 1,040 kids.

The highest food insecure rates are in the southern portion of southeast Missouri. 

As part of raising awareness and funds for the Backpack for Kids project, a concert is being held Tuesday night at the Black River Coliseum. Big Daddy Weave is scheduled to perform at 6 p.m. on Oct. 6.

Organizers of the event say that the communities around the area step up in times of need. In fact, there are about 50-100 volunteers each week when food and backpacks are given out. There are also many that will volunteer at Tuesday night's concert. 

Proceeds from this concert event go to the Bread Shed feeding programs including the backpack program. 

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