Bart Brown: Record number of meals distributed
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.
“I have a 16-year-old granddaughter who lives with me. Without this wonderful program, I don’t know how I would provide for her,” said Cathy, 57.
“This program is very needed in West Plains and the surrounding community. For some of the people that come through this Mobile Food Pantry, the food they receive is all they have to live off of. The fresh produce helps a lot, especially with making meals.”
Providing families, like Cathy’s, with fresh, nutritious food is at the heart of what we do. For the past five years, we have taken significant steps in growing the amount of refrigerated product we serve, growing from 1.1 million pounds in 2010 to 5.6 million pounds of fresh product today.
A lot of this growth has come from the Retail Pick-Up Program. Nearly half of all the meals served by Ozarks Food Harvest is provided by generous retailers. In the past year, the program has added 14 new stores.
Just this month we received a $50,000 Retail Store Donation Infrastructure grant from the Walmart Foundation. This will provide our agencies with more refrigerators to be able to store the produce, dairy and meat products donated from Walmart and other stores.
It’s exciting to think what lies ahead for The Food Bank as we continue to provide more hope to people in need. Thank you for working alongside us to solve hunger in the Ozarks.
Bart Brown is the president/CEO of Ozarks Food Harvest.