COLUMBIA — Mayor Bob McDavid hopes the community will pull its weight and donate enough food and money to reach the "Million Pounds Challenge" — an effort to collect one million pounds of food for the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri.
McDavid, who made an identical challenge last fall, announced the drive Wednesday and the Dec. 18 deadline, which he called Columbia's day of "caring for neighbors in need."
Over the next two months, the Food Bank will hold several donation and fundraising events for its "Food for the Holidays" campaign.
On Nov. 10, the group will hold its 9th Annual Cranberry Crawl at 8 a.m. at the Food Bank at 2101 Vandiver Drive.
On Nov. 20, the Food Bank will hold its Partnership Against Hunger drive from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Schnucks and Walmart stores in Columbia, Fulton and Jefferson City.
On Dec. 18, the group will hold the conclusion of the mayor's challenge from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the corner of Providence Road and Broadway. Inside Columbia Magazine, Columbia firefighters, and Zimmer Radio Group will be collecting cash and food donations.
Peggy Kirkpatrick, executive director of the Food Bank, said Central Pantry on Big Bear Boulevard has served more than 12,000 people each month since July this year.
"Of all the gifts given this holiday season, providing a meal for a hungry child is one of the most impactful things we can do," she said. "It costs very little and will mean the world to a family in need."
Overall, the Food Bank’s goal is to collect enough donations in a 32-county service area to provide 15 million meals for hungry Missourians this winter.
For every $1 donated, the organization can provide 15 pounds of food, or 11 meals, to those in need.
According to the Food Bank, more than 20 departments in Columbia have responded and are sponsoring smaller food drives to support the effort. The Food Bank’s signature purple collection barrels will be located at every fire station throughout Columbia and on every floor in the Daniel Boone City Building.
Inside Columbia Magazine, Columbia firefighters and Zimmer Radio Group will camp out at the corner of Providence Road and Broadway from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Dec. 18 to collect food and cash donations.
Supervising editor is Zach Murdock.