For children in the Ozarks who are hungry, every day brings a new struggle.
Concentrating in school, finishing homework in the evenings and even playing outside with friends is not easy or fun with an empty stomach. The only meals thousands of these children can count on are breakfast and lunch at school.
When classes are dismissed on Friday afternoon, the weekend can seem awfully long to a child who doesn’t know where his or her meals will come from.
I’m thrilled to share with you that Ozarks Food Harvest has hit a new distribution goal and has served more meals than ever before! In fiscal year 2014, The Food Bank distributed 16.3 million pounds of food, providing 13.6 million meals to our neighbors in need in southwest Missouri.
The number of meals served surpassed our strategic goal by over one million meals! This is all possible because of selfless donors, like you, who give your time, food or funds to support The Food Bank.
We know that each meal provided to a hungry child, unemployed adult or disabled senior means more to them than we will ever know. Behind each meal served, there is a story. And that’s what keeps us pushing to continually increase our distribution. We met Cathy at a recent Mobile Food Pantry distribution in rural Howell County where she was both a recipient and a volunteer. She shared with us that she is so grateful for the food.
Springfield Rotary clubs hosted a Rotary Feeds the Ozarks volunteer day at Ozarks Food Harvest on June 27. Eighty-eight volunteers sorted nearly 19,000 pounds of food and assembled 591 senior food boxes. Together, this will provide 32,374 meals for children, families and seniors in the Ozarks.
As you may know, dedicated Food Bank staff, volunteers and partner agencies work to distribute nearly 262,000 meals each week to people struggling with hunger in the Ozarks. Thirty percent of those served are children.
It’s hard to imagine, but one in every four children right here in southwest Missouri do not know where their next meal will come from.
This spring, Ozarks Food Harvest rallied the community to participate in two first-time events. Give Ozarks and The Great American Milk Drive made a significant impact on our neighbors in need. Through these efforts, we were able to spread our mission of hope to more people in the Ozarks.
Five Pound Apparel began a new partnership with Ozarks Food Harvest this year. For every T-shirt sold, the local retailer will provide a donation for Ozarks Food Harvest to purchase just over five pounds of food.
To date, over 1,706 shirts have been sold, equating to 9,383 pounds of food that OFH provided to children, families and seniors in the Ozarks. This is not the first time the local retailer has raised funds for The Food Bank, but this new initiative will provide year-round support for those in need.
Local elementary students stepped up to fight hunger in the Ozarks this spring.
First grade students at Field Elementary donated $1,519.58 to The Food Bank. The students raised the funds by making crafts and selling them at a school-wide market.
The fourth-grade classes at Field created 39 pottery bowls and donated them to help raise awareness of hunger in the Ozarks through the Empty Bowls 2015 event in September. They also collected 29 pounds of food for people in need.
“Hunger affects every community in the country,” said Fredric Rolando, NALC president. “At least six days a week, our letter carriers are a local touch point in communities everywhere and we are thrilled to be able to support our neighbors in need though the Stamp Out Hunger food drive.”
During most of the week, the Girls Room at Crimson House is filled with chairs, tables and … girls. But twice a month, when the church hosts its C-Street Connect food pantry, it is filled with fresh food and volunteers.
Used as the cold food distribution center on pantry days, the room had been dark and dreary with insufficient lighting. Thanks to Keller Williams Real Estate, Crimson House was selected to benefit from its annual Red Day program. The room has been transformed with bright pink walls, uplifting messages and plenty of light.