COLUMBIA — One good deed resulted in the shredding of another — a mortgage deed.
Despite tough economic times and tight budgets, donations from the Columbia Orthopaedic Group enabled the Central Missouri Food Bank to pay off its lingering mortgage.
- 105,000 mid-Missourians in poverty
- Poverty can be defined as a family of four making less than $20,000 annually
- The CMFB distributes to 145 hunger agencies in 32 counties
- CMFB works with 60 elementary schools in its Buddy Pack program to give food to hungry children and their families
The donation from 26 doctors accrued over five months and totaled $160,000, bringing their food bank donations from the past 10 years to $425,000.
In honor of those who funded the campaign, the food bank hosted a reception Wednesday night to dedicate its volunteer room to the group and shred the mortgage deed. Almost 100 people attended from local contributing organizations to witness the ribbon cutting and observe the 25-foot mural on the wall displaying three members of the group and a moral the group strives to emulate:
"Healing is our profession. Helping others is our privilege."
The revamped volunteer room, with a touch-up paint job, mural and posted safety procedures is where volunteers come to package, organize and ready donations to be sent to various hunger agencies throughout mid-Missouri.
Employees of the food bank see this not only as a generous contribution, but a way to free up resources in order to better serve the hungry of mid-Missouri.
"Now thousands of dollars a month that were paying down the mortgage will provide more food for the hungry people in central and northeast Missouri," said Peggy Kirkpatrick, executive director of the food bank.
The extra $4,000 will translate into an extra 80,000 pounds of food a month, providing an additional 60 meals to the hungry. Kirkpatrick attributed the ability to meet the needs of hungry Missourians to the compassionate citizens of Columbia.
"Mid-Missouri is exceptionally generous," she said. "Even if people can only afford to give a little, they will donate as much as they can. It is in the nature of people in this area."
With approximately 105,000 people living in poverty in mid-Missouri, the food bank distributes to more than 100 hunger agencies throughout the region. As problems with economic turmoil have increased, so have the numbers of those needing aid. In January, the food bank's food pantry distributed to agencies helping an average of 7,400 people. The average for October was 9,500.
However, while the numbers of those in need have risen, so have donations aimed at helping them. It wasn't long before the Columbia Orthopaedic Group caught wind of the increasing need for food, and it identified a stumbling block in the food bank's path — the impending mortgage. With a $4,000 payment each month, employees of the food bank became frustrated that monetary donations could not be solely used to feed the hungry.
As members of the Orthopaedic Group began to discuss donations to a charitable organization, Dr. Randal Trecha presented the option of eliminating the mortgage of the food bank.
"It was a pretty easy sell," Trecha said. "The bank is well-respected for their good work and efficiency and we are honored that they allowed us to do it."
Dr. Garth Russell, founder of the Columbia Orthopaedic Group, spoke highly of the initiative demonstrated by the group of doctors.
"Here's a chance we had to impact lives and a cause that has given us so much, and these doctors rose to the occasion," Russell said. "I've been all over the world and there is no place like Columbia; it is a community that always takes care of people who can't take care of themselves."