Missouri 4H

4-H member Nicole Benne helps deliver food to the Agape Food Pantry in Warrenton, Mo., during the 2020 4-H Feeding Missouri food drive.

Missouri 4-H continues its partnership with Feeding Missouri and the Missouri Farmers Care Drive to Feed Kids. 

To date, efforts have raised more than 400,000 meals to feed Missourians. The third annual food drive runs January through April to allow plenty of time for clubs to plan and carry out their activities, says Anne Reeder, 4-H Feeding Missouri coordinator. 

During the four-month 2021 campaign, more than 1,600 Missouri 4-H clubs and groups, serving youths ages 5-18, will engage in a friendly service-learning competition to see which county can contribute the most food, cash donations and volunteer hours, Reeder says. The goal for 2021 is to raise 500,000 meals.  Last year, Webster County 4-H alone raised more than 60,000 meals.

“I am so proud of the hard work of the youth and volunteers in Webster County 4-H working towards such outstanding outcomes for the 4-H Feeding Missouri program,” said Janice Weddle, county engagement specialist in 4-H youth development. “They are an awesome group, and Webster County is a better place for having people like them.

"We are excited to get started with this project again and to do our best to help Missourians.” 

Through local food drives, fundraisers and educational events and presentations, 4-H’ers will learn and help raise awareness about hunger and food insecurity in Missouri, where one in five children belong to families that struggle to put enough food on the table, Reeder said. The need is even greater this year with the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Supporting 4-H Feeding Missouri and the Drive to Feed Kids provides you with the opportunity to bring hope to thousands of Missouri communities by providing meals during this difficult time,” said Lupita Fabregas, director of the University of Missouri 4-H Center for Youth Development.

This year, through a donation from Missouri Farmers Care, 4-H clubs can apply for matching mini-grants. These grants will help clubs further their local efforts during the drive. 

“We are thrilled Missouri 4-H is partnered with the Missouri Farmers Care Drive to Feed Kids,” said Ashley McCarty, Missouri Farmers Care executive director. “Farmers across the state work 365 days a year to produce abundance from our fields and farms. However, the stark reality is that abundance does not reach all our neighbors’ dinner tables.

"The Drive to Feed Kids and its partners demonstrate the heart of Missouri agriculture. We can’t wait to see the energy, enthusiasm and passion Missouri 4-H members pour into 4-H Feeding Missouri and our shared goal of reducing food insecurity.” 

For more information about the campaign, matching mini-grants and how to get involved, visit 4h.missouri.edu and click on the 4-H Feeding Missouri button. 

Feeding Missouri is a coalition of Missouri’s six major food banks that works to provide hunger relief to every county in the state and the city of St. Louis through a coordinated network of more than 1,500 community-based feeding programs. 

Missouri Farmers Care is a joint effort by Missouri's agriculture community to stand together for the men and women who provide the food and jobs on which our communities depend. The coalition of more than 40 leading Missouri agricultural groups promotes the growth of Missouri agriculture and rural communities through coordinated communication, education and advocacy. For more information, visit www.MOFarmersCare.com

More than 55,000 members strong, Missouri 4-H is an active, dynamic organization of young people who are learning, growing and preparing to be the leaders of today and tomorrow – making a real difference in their community, country and world. 4-H is the youth development program of the University of Missouri and the nation’s Cooperative Extension System. For more information on Missouri 4-H, visit 4h.missouri.edu