April 06, 2012

Missouri Dept. of Ag, Farmers Give Thousands of Pounds of Food in Harvest for Hunger Drive

Donations from employees, ag industry going to support Missourians in need statewide

The Missouri Department of Agriculture's Harvest for Hunger Food Drive concluded this morning amid more than 7,000 pounds of food donated by employees and a nearly $20,000 contribution from Missouri farmers. Director of Agriculture Dr. Jon Hagler presented the donation to Scott Baker of the Missouri Food Bank Association and Frank Finnegan of the St. Louis Area Foodbank on behalf of Missouri agriculture.

"The support from Missouri's farmers, farm families and ag groups has been a clear display of dedication towards helping fellow Missourians," said Dr. Hagler. "Today, as we end the Harvest for Hunger Food Drive, we encourage all to continue to dig deep when they can to help families and members of their own communities."

This morning's announcement included a donation of 300 cases, approximately 2,000 pounds, of CareFast, a soy protein-based nutritional supplement donated by Missouri Farmers Care, a partnership group including the Missouri Soybean Association and many of the state's other agricultural organizations. CareFast includes Lunasin, a supplement developed at the Missouri Plant Science Center in Mexico, Mo. by a research team from Soy Labs LLC that has been shown to reduce cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease.

The St. Louis Area Foodbank and the Southeast Missouri Food Bank are sharing in the distribution of the CareFast donation from Missouri Farmers Care, with 150 cases delivered to the St. Louis area, which stretches from Pike to Iron counties. The remaining 150 cases were delivered to the Southeast Missouri Food Bank's branch in Sikeston, which serves Missourians throughout the bootheel and into the state's south-central counties.

"For those in need of food assistance, getting quality nutritious product is a huge bonus," said St. Louis Area Foodbank President and CEO, Frank Finnegan. "This donation of easy to prepare, soy protein-based powder from the Missouri Department of Agriculture is helping supplement the diets of those most in need throughout the 14 Missouri counties that the Foodbank serves."

Additional donations made by the employees of the Missouri Department of Agriculture announced this morning will be distributed to Missourians needing assistance through the Missouri Food Bank Association's network of banks and pantries.

The Department kicked off the food drive in December with a donation of non-perishable items and over $1,000 in cash, benefitting food banks across the state. Throughout the winter months, the Department accepted donations at its office in Jefferson City and encouraged all Missourians to donate both fresh and non-perishable food items.

For more information about the Harvest for Hunger Food Drive, including a list of food banks and pantries in your area, visit the program's website at http://agrimissouri.com/growandgive/. And to learn more about the Missouri Department of Agriculture and its programs, visit the Department online at http://www.mda.mo.gov.