Melanie Lake is the volunteer program coordinator for The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri.
The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri distributed more than 28 million pounds of food in 2012 with the help of more than 38,000 volunteers, according to its website. A few of those volunteers share their experience and take on the importance of giving back.
Volunteers are needed in all groups:
Food Bank/Food Pantry: 474-1020
Habitat for Humanity: 499-1020
Grandparents Raising Grandchildren: Parentlink, 777-8330
Boone County Foster Parent Support Group: Facebook page
Marion and Shirley Ballard
Marion and Shirley Ballard are retired and live in Columbia. They have volunteered at the food bank since 1997.
We are very proud to volunteer at the Food Bank for Central and Northwest Missouri.
It's a wonderful organization that provides food to many families in need. We package many different kinds of food which go to the Food Pantry to be given free to the ones that need it. We also do Buddy Packs, which go to many children at the schools. I'm sure the kids love these. It's a nice variety of food, things they would like and may not have at home.
It's a fun thing for us, gets us out of the house. We meet so many nice people young and older and feel like we are doing something good for the community.
Russell Crossland has volunteered at the food bank since January 2009. He is pictured below with his son, Travis.
What issues or organizations do you feel strongly about supporting?
Food Bank, Food Pantry and Habitat are great organizations in this community. It is very important that we all give back to them as much as they give to our community. For grandparents & co. and Foster/Adoptive, these groups give unlimited support to all in the community who take up for our children whether our own grandkids or others who need love and support from the adults in their little lives.
The Brain Injury Support Group at Rusk Rehab is one which helps me. I had a brain injury in February 2008, so I know there are others who share similar fates, but we all know that we could be worse off.
Even if you (don't) use any of these organizations, it's important to show your kids that giving back is important in our lives and others.
Why does this particular issue or organization matter to you?
I believe in the principles and values — giving to our community — of the food bank, food pantry and Habitat. The brain injury group helps me as I suffered a brain injury in February 2008. Grandparents & Columbia Fosters/Adoptive matter to me because we are raising our grandkids ages 13 and 14 now, but we fostered, then adopted in December 2002.
Terry and Barbara Buckley
Terry and Barbara Buckley live in Columbia and have volunteered at the food bank since February of this year.
What organizations do you feel strongly about supporting?
We are particularly drawn to the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri. We have supported them through monetary gifts for years, but retirement has allowed us to also give of our time. We volunteer on Thursday mornings from 10 to noon along with several other "regulars" and a varying group of individuals and organizations.
Why does this issue matter to you?
We were first made aware of the Food Bank and its mission by our church, Grand View Baptist, out on Route Z in Boone County. Grand View has supported the Food Bank for years, and they impressed upon us the great need in central Missouri for food.
It was difficult to grasp, at first: How could the need for basic foodstuffs be so great here in small-town America? But we learned through the Food Bank that the demand is great, and rising. Our hearts went out to the folks who struggle to put food on the table while God has given us so much. We don't go to bed hungry or wonder where our next meal will come from. We wanted to do something to help folks who experience this regularly.
How can people get involved?
The Food Bank has a great website at sharefoodbringhope.org. People can find all of the background information about the organization and what they do. Those interested in donating time and/or money can also find out how to do that. Folks who do not have ready access to the Internet can contact the Food Bank by phone at 474-1020 or toll free at 800-764-3663.