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Monday, 17 March 2014 02:47

Food bank demand growing in Missouri

   While unemployment rates are decreasing, the economic recovery still isn't trickling down to the dinner table for too many hungry Missourians.  That's according to Monica Palmer with the Missouri Food Bank Association.  She says 2013 was a record-breaking year, with more than 100 million pounds of food distributed across the state - a 23 percent jump from the year before.
   Palmer says more Missouri families are finding they simply can't stretch their budgets any further.  "Their income is not keeping up, because groceries are going up, childcare is going up, everything is going up, but wages are not competing - they're actually going down," Palmer said.
   The U.S. Department of Agriculture ranks Missouri number two in the nation for "very low food security," which means many of the state's residents have a hard time consistently providing food for themselves and their families. More information on accessing or donating to local food banks is at FeedingMissouri.org
   Palmer says not only are more people visiting the state's food banks for the first time, they're relying on them for longer periods of time.  She says that has led to a shift in the food bank mission. "Historically, food banks are the organizations that help with emergency needs," Palmer said.  "But over the last several years we've seen food banks supplying more maintenance food because people aren't finding the jobs, they're not getting back on their feet quite as much."
   Palmer says cuts to the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program last year equated to three and a half million lost meals for Missouri families. While the recently-passed federal Farm Bill does allocate an additional 200-million dollars to food banks nationwide, Palmer says it's too soon to know how much of an impact it will have.
 
Published in Local News

ANNA, Ill. (AP) — Officials at a southern Illinois food pantry say they're in dire need of help to keep their shelves stocked.

The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reported Saturday that the Shawnee Development Food Pantry in the Union County town of Anna suspended operations for two weeks earlier this month because there was no food to give away.

Officials say that's the first time in 20 years that the pantry has had to close its doors.

A truckload of food arrived a few days ago, and should last until the end of the week. But officials say they'll have to close again if no more food arrives.

They say the pantry typically serves about 200 households monthly, but that number has climbed as high as 335 households as more young families seek help.

Published in Local News

   The St. Louis Cardinals make it a habit to honor others before many of the team's home games.  But Monday night, it was the baseball franchise that was honored.  

   The Environmental Protection Agency recognized the team with a plaque for their leadership in food recovery and recycling.  

   By composting leftovers, like old hot dogs, and donating unused, uncooked food to food pantries, the team has kept 2000 tons of waste out of landfills.  According to the EPA, that’s far and away the best of any pro sports franchise.

Published in Local News

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