Food insecurity

Parking Services Hosts Annual Ticket Forgiveness Food Drive to Support Redhawk Food Pantry

Nov 29, 2020
Photo by Miya Andrews

This story was originally published Mon. Nov. 30, 2020.

Student parking tickets were forgiven for donating non-perishable items to parking services to stock the Redhawk Food Pantry. The event was held from Nov. 16-20.

Parking Services waived one parking ticket per account. One $10 dollar ticket was waived for five donated items, and one $20 dollar ticket was waived for 10 donated items.

Growing up in southern Indiana, Karen Pepmeier and her friends would comb the farm fields during harvest season, gathering leftover ears of corn to raise money for their youth group.

“You hate to see it lay in the field and rot,” Pepmeier said. “If you grow up in one of these areas, you're very familiar with the waste that occurs there.”

More than half a million people are out of work in Kansas and Missouri, creating unprecedented demand on food banks.

Now some safety net organizations that feed the hungry are sounding an alarm: the worst is yet to come.

“Let me just lay it out for you in terms of timeline,” said Scott Baker, the executive director of Feeding Missouri, a coalition of the state’s six largest food banks. “As we sit here today, we have seen a significant increase in demand, but we also have inventory that’s available right now to meet the demand.

Tiffanie White is still able to feed her three kids, but buying groceries isn’t easy right now. She lost her customer service job because of the pandemic, and she hasn’t been able to get through to unemployment to file a claim.

So when she goes to the grocery store once a week – wearing a mask, without her kids – she’s only buying what they absolutely need.

The Missouri Department of Social Services will be able to use United States Department of Agriculture food to help those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

DSS was given approval by the federal agency to use USDA foods to operate Disaster Household Distribution.  Missourians in need will be able to get a food package from mobile and drive-by locations through May 7.

The food will be distributed through six Missouri food banks, including Ozarks Food Harvest at more than 200 distribution sites.