When I am hungry, I ask my mom and she says we don't have nothing. We're supposed to have a full refrigerator, but we don't. I don't like it when I'm hungry. Blake, age 7

1 in 5 Children in the Ozarks are hungry

Nearly 30% of those served by Ozarks Food Harvest’s network are children

Southwest Missouri is home to staggering child food insecurity rates — 21 percent of children in Ozarks Food Harvest’s service area face food insecurity. That’s one in five children — and higher than the Missouri average of 18.6 percent — who face uncertainty finding their next meal and may go to bed hungry. Well over half of their families are also ineligible for any form of government assistance, including free lunches at school. They simply don’t have enough to eat, and their families are forced to turn to charitable support for the most basic necessity — food.

Children can’t learn when they’re distracted by hunger. The side effects can hamper their ability to successfully perform academically and socially, creating significant obstacles for proper development. Fortunately for these children, Ozarks Food Harvest’s food pantries and feeding sites can help. Initiatives like the Weekend Backpack Program, After-School Food & Summer Food programs also help feed at-risk kids over the weekends, after school hours and during the summertime, when children do not have access to free or reduced meal programs at school.

Together we can solve child hunger

All kids have a favorite food

Maybe it’s crackers, grapes or peanut butter and jelly. But for more than 54,000 children in southwest Missouri, they’re facing hunger. They don’t even know where their next meal will come from — but you can help.

Whether it’s by volunteering your time to assemble food bags for the Weekend Backpack Program or by donating funds for food distribution to other OFH programs that feed kids, you can help solve child hunger in the Ozarks.


Children's Programs

  • Backpack

    The Food Bank’s Weekend Backpack Program provides food insecure children with a bag of nutritious, child-friendly food for them to take home over the weekends, when they might otherwise go hungry.

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  • After-School Food

    During the school year, The Food Bank's After-School Program provides nutritious meals and snacks to children who would otherwise go home to an empty dinner plate.

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  • Summer Food

    Children who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals during the school year are also at risk of hunger during the summer months.

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