Co-Mo Electric Cooperative has received a $5,000 grant to pass along to the Food Bank of Central and Northeast Missouri's Buddy Pack program.
The grant, through one of its lender's charitable programs, will be used to provide food to children in the cooperative's service territory who might otherwise go hungry.
"One of the cooperative principles is 'Concern for Community,' and for us, that concern is so genuine, especially when it comes to children," said June Nivens, the cooperative's assistant manager and the person who applied for the grant.
The funds come through CoBank, the Colorado-based cooperative bank, and its Sharing Success program.
"Shared success is a hallmark of the cooperative business model, so we're absolutely delighted to be a part of this program," said Robert B. Engel, CoBank's president and chief executive officer. "Throughout rural America, cooperatives of all sizes are working not only to provide value to their members but to improve the quality of life in their local communities."
The Sharing Success program was started at the beginning of 2012 to coincide with the International Year of Cooperatives, a worldwide recognition of the role cooperatives have played and continued to play in the betterment of rural communities across the globe.
Approximately 55,000 students in the Food Bank's service area qualify for free and reduced-priced school meals. For many of them, breakfast and lunch at school offer the only source of reliable nutrition and they are at risk of hunger over the weekend.
To alleviate this risk, The Food Bank partners with elementary schools to provide Buddy Packs to school children. Buddy Packs are backpacks filled with kid-friendly, nutritious food that students take home over the weekend or holiday periods to supplement their meals when there is not enough for them to eat at home. After the weekend, the kids bring their empty Buddy Pack back to school to be refilled by local volunteers.
During the 2012-13 school year, the Buddy Pack program will help feed more than 6,700 children each week.
On hand for the check presentation at the cooperative's Tipton headquarters were Seth Hart, vice president for CoBank; David Nivens, board member of the Food Bank; and Bobbi Kincade, development director of the Food Bank.
The grant is just one measure through which Co-Mo has supported the Buddy Pack program over the past two years. The cooperative is in the midst of an ongoing food drive competition with two other electric cooperatives. In addition, the cooperative recently completed a Gourd Wars contest in which each Co-Mo department decorated a pumpkin and members and employees could vote with money on their favorite. That competition raised nearly $500 for the Buddy Pack program.
For more information on the program, visit sharefoodbringhope.org.