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Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014

Food Bank fills big need in the region

Friday, August 26, 2011

SIKESTON -- Less than a week after a prominent Sikeston businessman died, community individuals paid tribute to him at a building named in his honor.

Thursday's monthly luncheon of the Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce began with a moment of silence for Ray Clinton, who died Saturday. The Clinton Community Building is named for the community leader.

The Southeast Missouri Food Bank, which was the featured program at the luncheon, also called attention to a Sikeston man who was instrumental in its beginnings.

"Joel Montgomery Sr. was the founder of the Food Bank and is still an honorary member of our Board of Directors," said Karen Green, executive director. "I want to give a shout out to him, because without him, we would be here today."

Formerly known as the Bootheel Food Bank, it began operation in Sikeston in 1985. A large-scale food distributor, it serves 16 counties in Southeast Missouri, and is a member of Feeding America, America's food bank network, and a member of the Missouri Food Bank Association, six food banks serving the state.

According to Green, the Food Bank provides food and household products to more than 150 organizations, including several locally.

But providing food to the hungry isn't all the Food Bank does.

"Our mission is to educate the community about America's hunger problem, advocate for those in need, provide emergency food supplies to our hunger relief network and invite the public to participate in the process by volunteering time, food or funds," said Green.

She continued to say that she and Amanda Winschel, children's program director, were at the meeting to share information about the Food Bank, as well as the programs and services it provides to the community.

Every month, the Sikeston Food Pantry provides groceries to 2,000 families a month who come there for food assistance, said Green. Since 2006, the Pantry has tripled the amount of food distributed.

"In 2010 744,706 pounds of food was distributed by Southeast Missouri Food Bank to 18 agencies serving the poor in Scott County," she said. "An overall 6 million pounds of food was acquired for our region and distributed by our hunger relief network."

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