An average of almost 20,000 people are served through a food pantry in the lake area each month.

An average of almost 20,000 people are served through a food pantry in the lake area each month. In order to strengthen the ties between The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri and the agencies in Camden, Miller and Morgan counties and to help those who are in need of food assistance, the Lake of the Ozarks Food Bank Advisory Council was born. 

The Council hosted a celebration and appreciation luncheon at Central Bank in Osage Beach on Tuesday as a way to bring agencies from all three counties together. 

"We want you to continue to do what you do, but together let's see if we can do more," Jon Mark Hott, Chairman of the Council said. 

Each agency from the tri-county area including school districts that hand out buddy packs were recognized. 

In Miller County, the Eldon Food Pantry, Hope House, Visions Mobile Food Pantry and Visions Unlimited Food Pantry were thanked for their service. On average, Miller County serves 6,537 people each month which totals 2,108,101 pounds of food in 2013. 

An average of 5,647 people were served per month during 2013 in Camden County. Partnering agencies include Beacon of Hope, Camdenton Senior Center, Cedar Ridge Treatment Center, Lighthouse Mission Mobile Food Pantry, Share the Harvest Food Pantry and Citizens Against Domestic Violence. 

For Camden County, buddy pack programs include Camdenton, Climax Springs and Macks Creek School Districts. Last year 19,144 children were fed through the program. 

More than one million pounds of food was given out in Morgan County in 2013 through agencies such as End Time Joseph Program, Food for Morgan County, Ivy Ben Food Pantry, Versailles Nutrition Center and Westside Senior Center.

Versailles Elementary and Stover Elementary participate in the Buddy Pack program. In 2013, 172 children each month were served during the school year. 

Through the Church at Osage Hills Buddy Pack Ministry, School of the Osage, Iberia and Tuscumbia school districts are benefited. In 2013, 155 children were served each month totaling 6,031 children and 16,392 pounds of food for the year.

In part, the luncheon was held to introduce the council to the food pantries and their representatives. 

"Our heart is what can we do to feed the hungry," Hott said. 

Council members include Beverly Kincade, Joi Dickemann, Jon Mark Hott, Karen Faiferlick, Kathy Carter, Michelle Bayer, Peggy Kirkpatrick and Russ Clay.