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Residents asked to remember less fortunate

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

(Photo)
Boy Scouts help unload a trailer full of food from Morehouse Cub Scout Pack 49 during Scouting for Food Campaign.
SIKESTON -- While shopping for family and friends' gifts this holiday season, people may want to remember those less fortunate and put a few extra canned goods in their cart.

Dorene Johnson, executive director of the Bootheel Food Bank, said there has been "an overall reduction in food and funds," this year.

Kathy Hinton, Community Building director for Mission Missouri, said the soup kitchen is also in need of extra donations for their daily lunch and for the food boxes of non-perishable items the organization sends home and delivers to those in need.

"We've had a high demand of phone calls with the holiday season approaching," she said.

Johnson attributes the shortage at the food bank to fewer donations and an increase in demand. "There are a lot more people that need help because of the work shortage," Johnson said.

Overall, there is also a greater demand during the holiday season. "People have company coming in, they have more people to take care of," Johnson said.

Hinton said funds may be diverted with gift-giving this time of year, too. "They're taking what money they may have had for food and spending it on gifts," she said.

There has been an increase in demand, but no decrease in donations, Hinton said. On Wednesday, the group hauled two truckloads of canned goods from St. Francis Xavier school.

The food bank received some added assistance from the Boy Scouts' canned food drive donations last Saturday, Johnson said. "We will pass that on to our agencies here in the Sikeston area," Johnson said. It also receives donations from classrooms and other community groups and businesses.

"It worries me that we can't help more people," Johnson said.

That's always a concern for Hinton, too. "We have yet to experience (not having enough)," she said. "we always seem to have the right amount of food for the need.

For her, the work gives some personal satisfaction, too. "I've reminded of when God said 'what you do unto the least of these you do unto me,'" she said. "We are doing God's works and helping to fulfill his commandments."

To help, you can deliver or mail food or financial donations to:

Bootheel Food Bank, 104 Keystone Dr., Sikeston, MO, 63801; or Mission Missouri, 218 Dixie, Sikeston, MO 63801.

Mission Missouri will also be having a Christmas meal Friday, Dec. 22. Anyone who would like to volunteer should call Kathy Hinton, 472-3330.