Last year's Missouri State Fair's annual food drive collected thousands of pounds of non-perishable food donations, over $165,000 in monetary contributions, and packed 52,000 kid-friendly meals that were distributed through the food bank system. In 2018, the goal is to collect enough food and monetary donations to cover 1,000,000 meals.

"Last year the Missouri Farmers Care organization got on board and put up the money for the Sawyer Brown concert on opening night and then had a check presentation to Missouri Food Banks when it was done totaling $165,000," said Missouri State Fair Director Mark Wolfe. "Along with that was our Tuesday canned food drive, our canned creation contest, and then also the Drive to Feed Kids, which was in cooperation with Missouri Farmers Care and FFA. We had about 300-350 FFA students that came in on that day, we had all the bulk food brought in, and down at the Lowell Mohler Assembly Hall they spent about 2 1/2 hours and packed 52,000 kid-friendly meals that were distributed through the Food Bank system."

According to Wolfe, FFA is bringing in even more volunteers for the 2018 fair. "We've got somewhere between 600-650 FFA kids coming in from around the state. They're going to work two shifts, a morning shift and an afternoon shift, and their goal is to pack over 100,000 meals."

Wolfe said the combined efforts from the 2017 food drive and associated programs led to enough food being collected to provide hundreds of thousands of meals to those in need. "If you take the dollars, and how far they go with Missouri Food Banks, it kind of calculated out last year close to 700,000-750,000 meals. Our goal this year is to be beyond that. Hopefully we'll reach that million meals mark. It's just a great way for the State Fair, Missouri agriculture, FFA and everyone to give back to the people of Missouri."

The 2018 Drive to Feed Kids event and Missouri Farmers Care Food Drive will take place on Tuesday, August 14. Adult admission to the State Fair on that day is $2 with a minimum donation of two cans of food to support the food drive, which benefits Feeding Missouri.