Charlie O’Reilly: Federal Child Nutrition Act needed for OFH programs

July 16, 2015 in Charlie's Corner Harvest Time Newsletter

Charlie's Corner3As 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.

The Food Bank’s Weekend Backpack Program, Summer Food and After-School programs provide hope to these children who struggle with hunger.

I’m writing you today to ask for your help to make sure every child has enough to eat, which is something I believe in strongly and is a big reason why I support The Food Bank.

This year in September, during Hunger Action Month, Congress will vote on whether to reauthorize child nutrition programs, a vote that comes every five years. Bart tells me that Ozarks Food Harvest participates in the government-funded Summer Food Service Program and the after-school Child and Adult Care Food Program.

Ozarks Food Harvest believes that every child should have access to the food needed to be successful in school and in life. I believe it is imperative Congress support this reauthorization. In a land of plenty, no one should go hungry, especially our children.

Recently, Bart shared Doreen’s story with me. She’s 62-years-old and raising her grandchildren. “I am a widow and disabled. My three grandchildren live with me,” Doreen said. “If it wasn’t for Ozarks Food Harvest, I don’t know how we would survive. I would not be able to provide for them.”

Hard-working families across the Ozarks depend on our Food Bank to provide their children with nutritious meals when their paycheck just won’t stretch to the end of the month, or an illness causes extra bills.

Passing the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act ensures that the programs these families count on will continue, and hopefully grow.

I would urge you, as a supporter of The Food Bank, to contact your representatives from Congress today at 888-398-8702, or email Sen. Claire McCaskill, Sen. Roy Blunt and Rep. Billy Long by visiting their individual websites, and ask them to make child feeding programs a priority. Together, our voices will be heard and make an impact when the vote comes in September.

If you are able, please also consider making a gift to support children served by The Food Bank. It will mean more than you’ll ever know to a child who is hungry.

Visit The Food Bank’ website, or give Bart a call, to learn more about the child nutrition act and how you can help it pass.

Charlie O’Reilly is the vice-chair of O’Reilly Automotive’s Board of Directors, a hunger-relief advocate and supporter of Ozarks Food Harvest.