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story.lead_photo.caption Learn more about The Food Bank at sharefoodbringhope.org.

The Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri distributed 1,068,805 pounds of food in Callaway County in 2017 according to spokeswoman Janese Heavin.

She said The Food Bank provided that food at no charge to several partner agencies, including the Fulton Soup Kitchen, the Holts Summit Food Pantry and Soup Kitchen, Oak Chapel Pantry, SERVE, Inc., the Callaway Senior Center and the Missouri Girls Town Foundation. Additionally, The Food Bank provides food to children through the Buddy Pack Program at nine area schools.

This year, the Food Bank put more emphasis on quality of food over quantity, Executive Director Lindsay Young Lopez said.

"We have made it a priority to distribute healthier food options," she said. "As we provide food to more than 140 other nonprofits, we know we are on the front lines of health for the people they serve. We are committed to sharing food that not only solves hunger but also enhances the quality of life for our neighbors in need."

The Food Bank distributed more than 29.8 million pounds across its 32-county service area in 2017. Of that, 61 percent was in the form of "foods to encourage"—defined by Feeding America as produce, protein, dairy and whole grains.

"We are so thankful to Callaway County for helping make our operation possible," Lopez said. "By sharing nutritious food, we are bringing hope for a healthier tomorrow."

To increase distribution of healthier foods, The Food Bank has encouraged monetary donations to allow for the purchase of fresh, perishable goods. Because of The Food Bank's affiliation with Feeding America and the ability to purchase bulk food at heavily reduced costs, every $10 donation secures $210 worth of healthier grocery options.

For more information, contact Heavin at [email protected], (573) 447-6611 or sharefoodbringhope.org.

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