Columbia food bank attempts to collect 1 million pounds of food by Thursday

Monday, December 12, 2011 | 6:11 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — The final day of "The Million Pound Challenge" is fast approaching. By Thursday, the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri hopes to have at least 1 million pounds of donated food.

Executive director Peggy Kirkpatrick said Monday that a combination of monetary and physical donations have accounted for 260,000 pounds of food.

"So we are on our way," Kirkpatrick said. More than 100 food drives will culminate on Thursday, Kirkpatrick said, explaining that the food is being weighed as it comes in and a final tally will be provided when the challenge ends.

The "One 4 One Holiday Food Drive" will be held from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday at Gerbes on Nifong Boulevard and in the parking lot on the northeast corner of Broadway and Providence Road. The goal of Thursday's event is to encourage Columbia residents to give one dollar and one can of food for each member of their immediate family, according to Inside Columbia Magazine, a sponsor of the drive.

Danny Spry Jr., of Columbia Professional Firefighters, said members of his organization will also be there Thursday asking the community for help. Every dollar donated equals 20 pounds of food. "We will be holding signs and encouraging people to stop by," Spry said. 

Spry's said his group first got involved in the food bank's collection efforts two years ago, when they were approached by Inside Columbia Magazine. 

"They know how proactive we are in the community," Spry said, adding that his group was eager to help because "we view hunger as an emergency." Last month, the city's nine fire stations also opened their doors for donations, placing purple collection barrels inside each station.

Kirkpatrick said the food bank has been working on this food drive since Nov. 1. This is the drive's fifth year. Mayor Bob McDavid held a press conference on Nov. 17 challenging Columbia residents to participate.

In addition to Thursday's event, food donations can be made at the Daniel Boone City Building, the nine fire stations or at the Food Bank. Monetary and virtual donations can be made online. 

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