From September to April, the Church at Osage Hills has packed more than 12,000 buddy packs that benefited lake area school children.
When the staff at Osage Hills found out that many lake area schools were facing cuts to their buddy pack program, they knew that they had to step in. The Buddy Pack Ministry was created, volunteers were found and packing began. Osage Hills became an official Buddy Pack Bank through the Central Missouri Food Bank and once a month packed about 1,200 to 1,300 packs in about an hour.
"Because of the folks at Osage Hills stepping in, they literally saved the buddy pack program for the lake area," Central Missouri Food Bank Executive Director, Peggy Kirkpatrick said. It is important to note that Osage Hills serves schools in Morgan County including Stover and Versailles, Miller County including Iberia and excluding Eldon and School of the Osage in Camden County. The Camdenton R-III District handles their own buddy packs.
Osage Hills raised a total of about $40,000 for the program according to Kirkpatrick.
"Not only money, but they gave time and expertise to make it happen," she added.
On Sunday, April 28, the Church at Osage Hills packed their last buddy packs for this school year. Kirkpatrick made her way to the lake for the packing. She arrived and walked into the packing area like any other volunteer. She was immediately placed on a packing line in the midst of other buddy pack servants. She said the first thing she noticed is that she was not as fast as the other packers. Not only was she surprised by their speed, but she was impressed by the heart of the ones who served.
"It was very insightful," Kirkpatrick said. "I heard compassion, commitment and a desire to give back."
As a surprise to many, Kirkpatrick stood up during a banquet held on Sunday afternoon and showed her appreciation for the Church at Osage Hills and to all of those who have served.
"I thanked them for not just talking their faith but living their faith," she said. "That is really important and especially in today's world."
The Buddy Pack Ministry will start up again in August. Donations are always needed. Residents can donate their time or monetarily by calling The Church at Osage Hills at 348-1030.
Numbers to know...
# of buddy pack servants- more than 600
# of packs packed since September- more than 12,000
# of buddy packs packed each month- About 1,200 to 1,300
Amount of food handled- more than 16 tons
Amount of money raised- Approximately $40,000