Southeast Missouri Food Bank to open satellite facility in Jackson

Published: Jan. 24, 2022 at 10:58 AM CST|Updated: Jan. 24, 2022 at 6:15 PM CST
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SIKESTON, Mo. (KFVS) - Leaders of the Southeast Missouri Food Bank announced they plan to expand their food storage and better connect services with the northern part of their coverage area by opening an additional facility in Jackson.

CEO Joey Keys said once the pandemic hit, he noticed there were gaps in the food bank’s distribution services.

“There were supply chain issues,” he said. “We were worried about running out of food. So, it really showed us that we do need additional warehouse space. We need to have another location for if a disaster hits. And we are prepared for when that time comes.”

The new satellite facility will be at the former Sappington Outdoor location on east Jackson Boulevard.

“It’s gonna store some disaster supplies,” Keys said. “For example, it will have water, it will have shelf stable items. It will also at some point have cooler freezer space. It’s also gonna serve as a volunteer center.”

It’ll be a hub for volunteers like Mary Klaproth, who started the United Methodist Women food bank volunteer group.

“We started coming down here every month. And now we have included a number of persons from our congregation who come and help us,” she said.

From 9 a.m. to noon every Monday, they’ll make sure those in need can get food.

“There is food insecurity in our counties that the SEMO Food Bank serve. And all of us that come here and box up food, we have enough food to eat, and we would like for everyone to have enough food.”

Organizers believe this additional location will enhance and meet multiple needs in their operations.

“The building met our must-haves,” Keys said. “Sturdy construction, loading docks, warehouse space, easy highway access and a good value – all of those were important to us. The location will give us better access to Cape Girardeau County as well as our partners in Bollinger, Perry, Ste. Genevieve and Madison counties.”

In addition to food storage, the food bank says having a second location will be beneficial in the event of a disaster in southeast Missouri.

“If anything, such as a tornado or earthquake, were to damage our Sikeston location, it could cripple our ability to respond,” said Keys. “An additional location is needed so we have the food and water we would need to organize a distribution at a moment’s notice.”

According to Keys, the food bank’s board of directors and leaders have talked about having an additional facility, but the increased need for food service during COVID-19 pandemic showed an second location was needed sooner than later.

“The pandemic hit hard and fast in Spring 2020 and very quickly revealed some gaps in our infrastructure,” Keys said. “The food bank had to respond quickly because people were displaced from their jobs in a matter of weeks. We had to provide much more food than what we had been doing previously. We moved 16 million pounds of food in 2020 – 3 million more pounds than the previous year -- and at times it was a struggle.”

Crews will be working on the building soon to make repairs and upgrades.

The food bank hopes to move into the building by late summer.

The facility in Sikeston will remain their headquarters.

The food bank says one in six families and one in five children in southeast Missouri do not have access to enough food.

There are 143 pantries in the food bank’s 16 county network.

Currently, they serve 70,000 people on average each month, including distributing 5,350 food boxes to seniors.

In addition to helping seniors in need, 1,200 weekend backpacks of food are distributed to students in 31 school districts.

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