December 4, 2018 at 5:02 PM CST
Updated December 4 at 6:31 PM
SIKESTON, MO (Heartland News at 9) -Southeast Missouri Food Bank is working to keep food pantries stocked to help those who need it the most this holiday season.
Staff said they’ve had an increase of food drives since Thanksgiving, but they still need more help.
“All food drives are great, and any food we get is greatly appreciated. It will go to those in need,” said Joey Keys, SEMO Food Bank’s Chief Advancement Officer.
According to SEMO Food Bank, 63,700 people faced hunger in southeast Missouri last year. Organizing a food drive is one way to give back to these people.
“We’ve had a lot of food drives and a lot of mobile food pantries have been all over the area, which is a good thing because it’s helping those that might need a little extra food assistance during the holiday season,” said Keys.
Once the donations are dropped off, staff sorts the food into boxes.
They serve 180 agencies throughout the area that request what they need to stock their shelves. Then, the food’s packed and distributed to those pantries.
“We try to keep it in the counties where the food was collected that way it goes back to the person that was collecting the food initially for us,” said Keys.
So far, they’ve received donations from eight food drives since November, but Keys said they can always use more.
“One in four children in our area don’t know where their next meal is coming from," said Keys. “So, it’s a really high number. And you know we help secure the food to get it to those in need in areas with you know smaller populations with little resources.”
“People are trying to maybe feed a large group of families, and so it does make it harder on the budget to purchase food you’re trying to feed a family of you know several that’s coming over for the holidays," said Keys.
If you’re looking for a way to give back, visit www.semofoodbank.org to find out how you can host a food drive or donate.