On Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013, I attended a media event at Community Kitchen Inc. in Moberly, Mo. The event was held to celebrate the installation of a new commercial dishwasher, but the event was actually about the continued success of the organization’s efforts to feed the hungry in their community.
Community Kitchen Inc. is providing a critical service to Moberly and the surrounding area. They are attempting to reduce food insecurity. Food insecurity is a real issue in rural communities. According to Feeding America, 3 million rural households or 15.4 percent are food insecure. This is due to several factors such as greater unemployment and underemployment, the lack of flexible and affordable child care and less access to communication and transportation networks.
There are many groups around Missouri like Community Kitchen Inc. with which Rural Development is privileged to partner. These organizations are attempting to resolve food insecurities at the local level by offering access to food and providing a space for the community to come together.
Rural Development is well aware of the problem of hunger in rural America. In addition to programs such as Community Facility that funded the Community Kitchen Inc. project, we are involved in several initiatives to improve food access and reduce hunger. Among these are the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act; Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food; Farmers Market Promotion and Farm-to-School Programs. Each of these programs is designed to connect resources to needs.
Hunger remains an issue in America. Through partnerships with organizations such as Community Kitchen Inc., Rural Development is working to make a difference. Thank you to all the individuals and groups working daily to respond to those in need in their community.
Rural Development stands ready to assist local efforts to improve the quality of life for Missouri residents. We have over 40 business, community development, economic development, energy, housing and infrastructure programs. Contact for local Rural Development offices can be obtained by visiting the Missouri Rural Development website at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/MO-Home.html.
Janie Dunning is the state director for Missouri Rural Development.