In Cooper County, 76 percent of children qualify for a free or reduced lunch. While at school, these children are covered with a meal. When they are at home, a meal may be hard to come by.

The Food Bank’s Buddy Program assists these children, who otherwise would not have a meal. Each weekend, students are given their meals, which give them nutritious meals they can have during their time away from school.

Students at David Barton Elementary, Hannah Cole Primary, Bunceton R-IV, Blackwater, Otterville R-VI and Prairie Home R-V Schools participate in this program each week.

To help sustain the cost, donations are being accepted to help feed these children each year. A gift of $180 allows the Food Bank to provide one child a buddy pack each week for the entire school year.

Monetary donations can be brought to Citizens Bank and Trust. More information can be obtained by contacting Darren White at 573-474-1020 or by emailing him at