All-Star Gala is upcoming

Mexico residents are being asked to "Walk the Red Carpet" in support of the 2013 Buddy Pack Program. The goal this year is financing for 484 buddy packs.
Some 1,974 children in Audrain County qualify for free and reduced-price meals at school. For many of them, these meals are the only source of reliable nutrition they receive throughout the week, putting them at risk of hunger over the weekend.
To alleviate this risk, the Food Bank of Central and Northeast Missouri (formerly Central Missouri Food Bank) has partnered with five Audrain County schools to provide Buddy Packs to 484 children. These schools include Community R-6 in Laddonia, Eugene Field, Hawthorne, McMillan elementary schools and the Early Childhood Center, all in Mexico. However, due to rising food and fuel costs and manufacturing cut backs, the funding for this program has been cut dramatically. For the 2013-2014 school year, the number of backpacks for Audrain County will be reduced to 93 — meaning at least 391 children will not receive this nutritious supplement.
The Audrain County Adopt a Buddy Committee said the community can help them reach their goal by attending an All-Stars Gala to raise money for the Audrain Buddy Pack Program. The "Adopt a Buddy Walk the Red Carpet" will be held Friday, Aug. 16, at the Steinman Banquet Center. The social hour begins at 6 p.m., with dinner at 7 p.m., followed by entertainment. Those unable to attend can purchase a Buddy pack. Each backpack costs $180 per school year or $15 per month for the upcoming school year.
"The committee along with Audrain County teachers believe a hungry child is not prepared to learn and weekends are tough because many kids take care of themselves or siblings while parents are working," said committee member Cara Miller. "This program gives them relief knowing there will be food for them."
There are a variety of sponsorship levels that invite those interested to help change a child's life. Each sponsorship level includes Buddy packs, tickets to the All Stars Gala, the choice of a Hollywood theme for table/attendees and a table name plate or sponsor wall.
The different sponsorship levels are: Network Sponsors for $10,000, a Producer Sponsor for $5,000, an event sponsor for $1,000 and a Table Sponsor for $500. Individual tickets to the gala are also available for $75. Tickets are available until Aug. 11. All money raised and food collected stays in Audrain County and all donations are tax deductible.
Should it ever be questioned if Buddy Pack recipients are appreciative, the following students had this to say when asked how they felt about the program and what they liked about it:
"It helps you be smart," said one kindergartener, while a fifth grader said, "I look forward to it because now I have healthy snacks at my house that my mom won't get mad about me eating."
Other committee members are Amy Auwarter, Beth Colley, Mark DeJaynes, Roslyn Dial, Carla Hobbs, Jaye Jackson, Ann Jolly, Dana Keller, Terry Kukuk, Dene Myers, Fran Robley and Phyllis Wirths.
For more information or to purchase sponsorships and tickets, contact the Mexico Area Chamber of Commerce at 581-2765, or the First Presbyterian Church at 581-5689.