Rotarians fight hunger through month-long efforts

Mary Ann Beahon Announcements, Community Service

Columbia, MO – Thirty-six Rotary clubs in District 6080 of Missouri recently battled each other in a month-long effort to fight hunger. Clubs in the northern part of the district competed against those in the south to see which region could do the most to reduce hunger and malnutrition.

District 6080 comprises 49 Rotary Clubs and four Rotaract Clubs between St. Louis and Kansas City and south to the Arkansas state line. Altogether, 68 percent of the clubs participated, collecting 10,644 pounds of food, donating $18,553 and volunteering 1,463 hours for food pantries and similar organizations.

“The northern part of the district won the ‘food fight,’ but the clear winners were the people we helped; the people who won’t have to go to bed hungry due to our efforts,” District Governor Steve Dulle of Columbia said.

The highest food total was turned in by the Jefferson City Breakfast Rotary Club, which collected 2,515 pounds of non-perishable items outside a supermarket during Saturdays in July. The club also donated $996 and volunteered 56 hours.

The Rotary Club of Columbia (Downtown) contributed the most labor, volunteering 258 hours at the Food Bank of Central and Northeast Missouri. Jefferson City Breakfast collected the most food, 2,515 pounds. Columbia South, Fulton and Jefferson City Evening Rotary Clubs collected the most money, each giving more than $2,000 in addition to their food donations and volunteer hours.

“Instead of a traditional, formal installation for the district governor, we encouraged clubs to join in a work day June 28 at the Food Bank of Central and Northeast Missouri,” Joe Weston, chair of the organizing committee, said. “Approximately 150 Rotarians and guests repackaged nearly 5,000 pounds of Rice Krispies for local food pantries.”

All clubs in District 6080 were then challenged to do something to combat hunger during the month of July.

“Missouri ranks second from the bottom of all states for food insecurity,” Carla McDaniel, District 6080 community service chair, said.  “That’s why we chose this as our first community service project of the new Rotary year.”

She added, “Rotary has six areas of focus, including ‘saving mothers and children.’ At least 7 million children under the age of 5 die each year due to malnutrition, poor health care and inadequate sanitation. We want to do our part to prevent this from happening.”

Rotary clubs in the northern part of the district participating in the “food fight” were:

  • Belton-Raymore—200 pounds of food donated to the West Central Community Action agency, $1,250 collected for the Raymore-Peculiar Public Schools C.A.N. program and Belton Public Schools Pirate Pantries, and nine volunteer hours
  • Butler—274 pounds, $1,050 and 48 hours for the Bates County Food Pantry
  • Clinton—1,643 pounds and 15 hours collected for the local food bank
  • Columbia Downtown—258 hours donated to the Food Bank of Central and Northeast Missouri
  • Columbia Metro—27 hours donated to the Food Bank of Central and Northeast Missouri
  • Columbia Northwest—70 pounds, $250 and 53 hours donated to the Food Bank of Central and Northeast Missouri
  • Columbia Rotaract—18 pounds, $200 and 28 hours donated to the Food Bank of Central and Northeast Missouri
  • Columbia South—$2,310 and 106 hours donated to the Food Bank of Central and Northeast Missouri
  • Columbia Sunrise Southwest—21 hours
  • Fulton—100 pounds of food, $2,170 and six hours donated to SERVE’s food pantry, the Food Bank of Central and Northeast Missouri and the Tower Garden Project
  • Harrisonville—90 hours making deliveries for the local Just4Me program, which provides food during the summer for children on the free and reduced lunch programs in the Harrisonville School District.  They also volunteered at Good Shepard’s food pantry, which is run through the Ministerial Alliance.
  • Jefferson City Breakfast—2,515 pounds, $996 and 56 hours donated to the Samaritan Center.
  • Jefferson City Evening—1,752 pounds, $2,195 and 66 hours donated to the Samaritan Center.
  • Jefferson City Rotaract—48 hours volunteered for the Samaritan Center
  • Jefferson City West—1,220 pounds to the Samaritan Center, 450 pounds to the Salvation Army, $375 and 47 hours
  • Lake Ozark—1,200 pounds, $500 and four hours donated to the Hope House in Eldon
  • Laurie Sunrise Beach—150 pounds, $725 and 70 hours
  • Marshall—30 hours at the local food pantry. In addition, the club secretary participated in a group that spent six days in St. Louis cooking meals for the homeless.
  • Sedalia—seven hours serving meals to approximately 50-70 people in need at Community Café
  • Warrensburg Early Bird—60 hours volunteering at Shiloh Baptist Church, helping with the breakdown and distribution of Harvester’s Food Bank and with the Nehamiah Feeding Program, which provides a sit down dinner Monday through Friday without cost to any needy person
  • Warrensburg Noon—274 pounds, $355 and seven hours at the Warrensburg Food Pantry.

Rotary clubs in the southern part of the district participating in the “food fight” were:

  • Bolivar—11 hours at Community Outreach Ministries in Bolivar, an affiliate of Ozarks Food Harvest in Springfield.
  • Branson Daybreakers—$152 donated to the local food bank
  • Branson-Hollister—13 pounds, $440 and two hours donated to Gift of Hope and their Backpack Club, which provides food for hungry children to eat on the weekend. The club also donated $1,335 to the local food bank, which was matched by the CenturyLink Clarke M Williams Foundation.
  • Mountain View—187 pounds, $544 and 15 hours (four distributing food for F.E.E.D. program of Ozarks Food Harvest and 11 for Zumbathon food/cash collection)
  • Nixa—79 pounds and $10 donated to the Least of These, Christian County food pantry
  • Ozark—$700 and 81 hours donated to the Least of These, Christian County food pantry, Care to Learn Ozark and Billings Food Pantry
  • Pulaski County—44 pounds and $65 donated to the Pulaski County Good Samaritan Food Pantry
  • Rolla–$250 donated to the Friday Backpack Program, which helps provide food over school weekends to children who are less fortunate.
  • Rolla Breakfast—48 pounds, $100 and seven hours donated to GRACE (Greater Rolla Charitable Enterprises) food pantry; also has an ongoing project packing backpacks
  • Springfield Metro—53 hours volunteered at Ozarks Food Harvest
  • Springfield Rotaract–$5 and 42 hours at Ozarks Food Harvest
  • Springfield Sunrise–$1,125 and 40 hours donated as part of Rotary Feeds the Ozarks event for Ozarks Food Harvest
  • Table Rock Lake/Branson West—10 hours at local food pantry
  • Thayer-Mammoth Spring–$1,300 and 107 hours
  • West Plains Sunrise—280 pounds donated to local back-to-school fair; 127 pounds and $150 donated to a local battered women and children’s shelter.