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Nonprofits prepare for Thanksgiving meals across mid-Missouri

The Food Bank For Central and Northeast Missouri building. It is a large grey building with a giant orange spoon sculpture outside.
Katie Quinn
The Food Bank is seeking more support as they are spending around three times more on food and transportation before the holidays as compared to pre-pandemic.

Some estimates have found customers can expect a twenty percent increase in food prices for the holiday. The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri has seen the effects in their 32-county service area.

Katie Adkins, the Food Bank's director of communication and marketing, said they are serving around 15,000 more people each month compared to last year. That’s on top of pricier foods and transportation costs.

“It's a bit of a challenge coming from both ends of need increasing and wanting to serve more neighbors and seeing our own prices increase. And that's true of food banks everywhere right now," Adkins said.

The Food Bank is seeking more support as they are spending around three times more on food and transportation before the holidays as compared to pre-pandemic.

“We are just planning for those increases to continue, you know, there's no real end in sight to the increase in need," Adkins added.

To combat the increased need, the Food Bank along with Cumulus, KOMU and local grocery stores, is hosting a Partnership Against Hunger Food and Fund Drive Tuesday, Nov. 22 from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The drop-off locations in Columbia, Boonville, Jefferson City and Kirksville will accept both nonperishable foods and monetary donations. Adkins said a donation of $25 can help provide up to 100 meals. Adkins expects this event to help feed community members throughout the holiday and also months after. She emphasized food insecurity does not end after the holidays, and the Food Bank and other nonprofits are in need of volunteers and support especially in January and February, months that are typically short of volunteers.

Powerhouse Community Development

Thanksgiving meal provider Powerhouse Community Development Corporation has also seen an increase in the need for food items around the holidays.

Every third Saturday Powerhouse hosts a drive-thru food box distribution. But Erika Buford, who’s been helping feed Columbia for more than 15 years, said holidays look different. Buford said about 1,500 cars came through last year to stock up on food ahead of Thanksgiving.

“This will be just one less stress off of them, you know, making sure that they can provide for their families, or if they're wanting to invite people over, then they can do that as well," she said.

She added events like these bring the community together and expose the need for food assistance, especially during a time that’s not always celebratory for everyone.

“My son passed away in July so I'm not doing good," she said. "But I know that people need to be… there's still a need for the community."

On Thanksgiving Day, Powerhouse is inviting anyone in need of a hot meal to visit the Columbia Senior Activity Center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., where fresh meals will be served. Buford said Powerhouse delivers these hot meals to hotels like Welcome Inn and residences like Oak Towers and Pacquin Towers.

Other organizations like Loaves and Fishes are providing hot meals during the holiday season. That soup kitchen is located at the Wilkes Boulevard United Methodist Church. St. Francis House plans to take food to that soup kitchen, instead of hosting its own hot meal event for Thanksgiving.

Kassidy Arena was the Engagement Producer for KBIA from 2022-2023. In her role, she reported and produced stories highlighting underrepresented communities, focused on community outreach and promoting media literacy. She was born in Berkeley, California, raised in Omaha, Nebraska and graduated with a degree in Journalism at the University of Missouri, Columbia.
Katelynn McIlwain, originally from Freeport, Illinois (go Pretzels!), is the managing editor for KBIA. She assists KBIA newsroom leaders in planning, supervising and producing news programming for radio broadcast, including daily news and in-depth reports, as well as public affairs programming.
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