Ozarks Food Harvest is experiencing a higher demand for food assistance than during the height of the pandemic. In the past six months, we’ve served an average 60,000 individuals each month; 10,000 more than during the same period in 2020 and 2021. As many working families struggle to get back on their feet, they’ve encountered a perfect storm of increased childcare costs, high housing prices and rising food expenses.
When the school bell rings on Friday afternoon, one in seven children in southwest Missouri are not looking forward to a break – they’re dreading a weekend without food. Through the Weekend Backpack Program, children can rest assured that they will have meals to last the weekend.
Did you know the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) partners with, and depends on, Ozarks Food Harvest to be the largest food supplier to our neighbors facing hunger in southwest Missouri? Its long and trusted partnership with the USDA has made a huge impact on the number of nutritious meals provided through its network of 270 community and faith-based charities. That dramatic impact is what makes this year’s Farm Bill so important for families served by Ozarks Food Harvest.
Of the people served by Ozarks Food Harvest’s hunger-relief network, one-third live in a household with children. So many of these children rely on nutritious school meals that help them learn, grow, and play, but what happens when school lets out for the summer?
Substance abuse and addiction affects every part of a person’s life, from relationships, to finances, and even poor nutrition. It’s a tough cycle to break alone. When men are ready to seek help, Adult & Teen Challenge of the Four States in Neosho is there to offer support and education for men to recover and maintain a healthier lifestyle.
“Something has to be a catalyst in life for change. We have control to make that step of change,” says Teresa Fairbanks. For Teresa, a DUI was the catalyst that brought her to volunteer at Ozarks Food Harvest, but it did so much more than that. It reignited her passion to make a difference in her community and home.