Collection will benefit Hannibal Buddy Packs Program

Ariana Clark has reason to support the Buddy Pack Program.

The Hannibal High School sophomore’s sister has been the recipient of a “Buddy Pack” — supplemental food given to area students who might not have enough at home. The packs contain goods like ramen noodles, granola bars, pretzels, and other foods to help feed area children.

Clark remembered a time when a parent was between jobs and food was limited in her home. Buddy Packs stepped in provide a little boost to her family.

That’s why she was excited to announce an initiative sponsored by Hannibal Teens In Motion Thursday morning.

Clark spoke in front a handful of classes at Mark Twain Elementary to explain the “Be A Buddy” fundraiser, a school and community drive to supply food to the Buddy Pack Program.

Students across Hannibal elementary schools are encouraged to bring 15-ounce cans of pasta to school for a month-long food drive to collect up to 2,000 canned goods for Buddy Packs. Examples of goods sought include SpaghettiOs, ravioli, and spaghetti and meatballs. Students can bring the cans to their classrooms to contribute to a class totals. Classes with the most goods at the end of the month will receive a prize.

No expired or dented cans will be accepted.

The Buddy Pack Program assists more than 400 children each week with easy-to-fix meals when school is not in session. Clark said support for the program is urgently needed.

“What we’re doing is really going to help and it is a need,” Clark explained.

The teens in the Teens In Motion Program — a program of Douglass Community Services — conceptualized and developed the food drive.

“Amy (Vaughn, Teens In Motion Program Director) brought to our knowledge that the Buddy Packs Program was starting to run out of food for us,” Clark said. “We put our minds together, our heads together, and we figured out what we can do to help to give back to our community.”

Vaughn praised the Teens In Motion participants for their giving spirit.

“The kids have jumped at the chance to help, and are excited about leading this effort,” she said in a press release.

While the teens hope many of the Hannibal Public Schools classrooms will get involved, any community member is invited to contribute to the collection.

Drop off locations for the general public include:

• Hannibal Public School Board Office, 4650 McMaster’s Ave.

• Hannibal Parks and Recreation Department, 320 Broadway

• Douglass Community Services, 711 Grand Ave.

The Hannibal Parks and Recreation Department offers incentives to participate in the project. Canned goods must be donated by the close of the food drive, which is scheduled for March 2.

The BuddyPack program is a collaborative effort between the HAYS (Hannibal Alliance For Youth Success) Program and the F.A.C.T. (Families and Communities Together) Program.

For more information on the BuddyPack Program, please visit http://www.mcfact.org/ and for more information on Kids in Motion/Teens in Motion, please visit www.hannibalkidsinmotion.com .

Reach editor Eric Dundon at eric.dundon@courierpost.com .