Thank you to everyone helping feed children through the summer

Saturday, June 5, 2021

We want to thank the Poplar Bluff School District and Chartwells for tackling a big program this summer.

The pair have partnered to provide free breakfast and lunch meals for all children under the age of 18.

The pick-up meals are for all community children in need and are provided in coordination with the USDA at six locations, in addition to summer school sites.

Our community is fortunate to have this partnership, as well as those in other school districts that help ensure children are fed through the summer.

According to Feeding America, in Missouri, 809,680 people are facing hunger - and of them, 202,900 are children.

They report one in eight people face hunger, and one in seven children face hunger.

Organizations that serve those in need say they saw these problems spike during the pandemic, with the use of food pantries going up substantially.

The Southeast Missouri Food Bank distributed a record 16.35 million pounds of food – or 13.6 million meals – during 2020, an increase of more than 3 million pounds over the 12.9 million pounds distributed in 2019.

The food bank held 432 mobile distributions in 2020, compared to the 234 held in 2019, staff report.

Many of those seeking help had never needed food assistance before. Staff members estimated the food bank is serving about 40% more families than it did before the pandemic, having gone from serving 63,000 households per month to 85,000-90,000.

This isn’t a new service for the Poplar Bluff School District, or others in our region. They did this last summer as well.

When Poplar Bluff R-I provided meals last year, which also included dinner through a Department of Health and Senior Services program, it served an average of 7,000 meals daily to students in the community.

About 74% of students in the Poplar Bluff district qualify for free and reduced meals, compared to just under 50% of students statewide.

Thank you to everyone, not just the Poplar Bluff School District, who are helping keep children fed this summer.

— Daily American Republic

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