Filling the Gap

Anymore, multimedia knowledge is essential to journalism, no matter what kind. One of the requirements of our reporting class is to create a multimedia project for the Missourian’s website.

I was partnered with a member from my beat and we had three weeks to brainstorm, record audio, take photos and create a multimedia package. My partner Simina and I decided to tell the story of Buddy Packs.

The Buddy Pack program is unique to Columbia (and the other cities in Central and Northeast Missouri served by the food bank). It’s a really wonderful program that provides food for the weekend to hungry elementary school children.

Poverty and hunger in Missouri are growing. Recent numbers from the Columbia Public School district show that forty percent of students are receiving free or reduced lunch. Peggy Kirkpatrick, executive director of the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri, informed us that Missouri is ranked fifth worst in the nation for food insecurity for children under the age of 18. Just a few years ago we were ranked eighth worst. Currently, the Buddy Pack program is providing 8,500 buddy packs per week across 32 different counties, but Kirkpatrick told us that the number of children who actually qualify is more than six times higher.

I was astonished to hear this.

No child should be hungry. This is huge problem and I certainly don’t have the solution for it, but the least I can do is make others aware. I’m thankful for the work of the Food Bank, Columbia Public Schools and the numerous volunteers who continue to help make the Buddy Pack program work.

I’d like to think that 8,500 children are equally thankful.


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