Local food bank mobilizing for Thanksgiving

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KAIT) - A local organization is working to make sure Region 8 families enjoy Thanksgiving this year.

The Southeast Missouri Food Bank is mobilizing at the Delta Fair Grounds in Kennett, MO Monday evening. "Anybody in need can come out and receive food. They need to bring their own bag or box," said SEMO Food Bank agency relations and program director Missy Rice.

From 3-5 p.m. workers are distributing holiday food such as whole chickens, chicken stuffing, mashed potatoes and baked beans.

The Southeast Missouri Food Bank opened in 1985. The mobile food pantry was implemented in November 2009 to better serve the network of food pantries and shelters, which located 16 counties throughout Missouri. "In the rural communities that we serve, the mobile food pantry can fill that gap so we can go out into the community where there's not a traditional pantry and do food distributions," Rice said.

"I think it's about 30,000 that we've already helped in that time frame."

Rice said the SEMO Food Bank has had an increase in the number of families that need assistance. "We're seeing families visit food pantries on a monthly basis instead of an emergency-need basis. So now with the holidays coming we definitely need the extra food assistance."

According to the 2010 census, 31,953 people live in Dunklin County.  The median household income in 2009 was $28,838, with nearly 25 percent of the population living below poverty level.  Rice said the Southeast Missouri Food Bank has more programs to serve the southeast Missouri population. "We've started the mobile food pantry, we've started Backpacks-for-Friday (BFF) and we've also started ABC Food Pantry."

BFF and ABC are food service programs for children. Volunteers at participating schools fill backpacks and school pantries with non-perishable meals and snacks for students and their families.

The Southeast Missouri Food Bank mobile food pantry will be set up at the Delta Fair Grounds no matter the weather.

For a list of Southeast Missouri Food Bank mobile food pantry locations click here.

For a list of year round pantry locations in Southeast Missouri click here.

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