Food Bank Sees 30 Percent Increase in Need
By: Mike Shain
SIKESTON, Mo. - Hunger in the Heartland? Yes! The Southeast Missouri Food Bank counts 64,000 people living below the poverty level and more than 22,000 are children. They include the working poor, seniors, the disabled and victims of domestic violence who've left home to seek shelter.
"We've seen about a 30 percent increase since the second quarter of this year," Food Bank Director Karen Green said.
But economic hard times are causing food donations to fall off. Businesses that contribute food and money also are facing a slow down.
However, they are still giving and so are individuals. A recent direct mail campaign raised more than $30,000. But more money and food is needed.
The food bank is a collection point and warehouse serving more than 140 food pantries in towns from the Current River to the Mississippi and from Arkansas to Ste. Genevieve.
Volunteers are always needed to help with sorting, stacking and loading at the food at the location on Nash Road in Cape Girardeau.
A local resident picking up food for her family says, "without it, I wouldn't be having a good Christmas. Not for my family. I got two little boys, and this is what I come for, for them."
From July 2007 to July 2008, Southeast Missouri food Bank distributed over 4 million pounds of food to its 16 county service area.