Friday afternoon, a group of Missouri state representatives learned about food insecurity in Missouri, and how Second Harvest Community Food Bank is working to combat it.
Those in the group included Missouri state Reps. Brenda Shields, R-St. Joseph, and Allen Andrews, R-Grant City, and state Sen. Dan Hegeman, R-Cosby. Ambassadors for U.S. Rep. Sam Graves and U.S. Sens. Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley also were in attendance. The group was given a tour of the food bank while learning about its mission to feed Missourians in 19 counties.
“They said that there’s 1 in 7 individuals in our community that are food insecure,” Shields said. “I think it was important that we learned that and that we understand what role we can play to make sure that we have fewer people that are food insecure.”
Several staff members of Second Harvest spoke with the group about the various programs the food bank provided, such as No Hunger Summer, the Mobile Market, Campus Cupboards and more. Second Harvest CEO Chad Higdon said he wanted to show the representatives that the organization reached far beyond the city of St. Joseph.
“That really is part of it, just understanding the scope, knowing that we serve 19 counties in a geographic region that goes beyond just what we do here in St. Joe, and our physical plant, but really working with partner agencies, like food pantries and church organizations and summer feeding sites throughout our service territory,”
Many who were given the tour expressed interest in helping the program as politicians in Jefferson City and Washington, D.C.
“It’s always important that we know the role the state government can play with our social service agencies,” Shields said. “I think that the NAP (tax) credits are very important, to know how important they are to this agency, and that we need to make sure that we continue to encourage individuals to donate to organizations such as this.”