By Patrick Baron
BLOOMINGTON – Midwest Food Bank and the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Youth Center Foundation are teaming up to distribute food to kids in East Saint Louis.
Jackie Joyner-Kersee, a retired track and field athlete, won three gold, one silver, and three bronze medals at the Olympic Games, as well as four gold medals at the World Championships in Athletics during her career. Her foundation oversees and mentors more than 150 young students by making sure they can read and write at grade level, as well as providing them with warm meals. In some cases, however, the kids may not have meals to go home to.
Speaking with Joyner-Kersee, MFB president David Kieser explained the collaboration will allow his organization to bring food to an area MFB doesn’t often deliver food to.
“We consider this a real privilege and honor to have this foundation of Jackie’s to collaborate with,” said Kieser. “We always feel like together we’re stronger and so our goal is to take the strengths of both organizations and better serve the community in East Saint Louis and in other places.”
Kieser also said MFB may consider opening a facility in East Saint Louis, but that decision won’t take place for another three to five years.
Joyner-Kersee says the partnership with MFB can allow her foundation to send hungry students home with food.
“Sometimes their only meals are the meals they get at the school or at the center, and if that’s the only time they get a meal, then when they go home that means there’s nothing there,” Joyner-Kersee explained. “So that’s where Midwest Food Bank can come in and blesses us to allow us to bless a family that we might not even know is in that need.”
Kieser said support is expected to be sent to East Saint Louis within the next 60 days.
Patrick Baron can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.