During my Odyssey week, I had the privilege of learning more about the MidSouth Food Bank. The Food Bank has three major target populations: children, families, and seniors. The Food Bank has several initiatives for each target population in order to ensure they are consuming nutritious meals on a regular basis. In the Food Bank service area, twenty-three percent of children are considered to be food insecure. The Food Bank has two large programs that allow children to receive nutritious meals. They have three Kids Café locations which each provide nutritious meals twice a week as well as teach the children about the importance of nutritious eating. They also have the Food for Kids BackPack Program. This program provides a backpack filled with nutritious, child-friendly food for children to take home for the weekend. Each backpack contains six complete meals as well as fun nutrition information activities.
For their feeding families initiative they have a program called Hunger’s Hope. Hunger’s Hope distributes food to different food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, youth programs, senior programs, rehabilitation and residential center throughout the MidSouth. They also have a Mobile Pantry which allows direct delivery of fresh produce and frozen meat to underserved communities.
More than eleven percent of those receiving assistance from the Food Bank are seniors over the age of 60 (over 20,000 seniors). Seniors are the fastest growing group of food insecure individuals. In order to help the seniors in the MidSouth, the Food Bank has the Senior Grocery Program. Each Senior Grocery food box contains food for a senior to prepare and consume at home. Each box contains enough food for one month.
I volunteered to help at the Mid-South Food Bank’s Miles for Meals event, which was a Walk/Run fundraiser for their organization. While there, I had an opportunity to meet their Volunteer Coordinator, Paula Rushing, who took the time to introduce me to multiple team members including their CEO Estella Mayhue-Greer. I ended my day by helping at the ice cream booth.
The MidSouth Food Bank is well on their way to helping ensure each member of our community has nutritious food to eat. On September 19, 2013, the MidSouth Food Bank is having an event called “Stuff a MATA bus.” This event will be held from 8a.m.-5p.m. in the Poplar Plaza Shopping Center. The most needed items include: Money (1$ can provide 3 meals), canned soups and stews with meat, tuna, peanut butter, canned vegetables, and canned fruit. If you would like to contribute to their efforts, please stop by and donate canned food items.
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