Charlie O’Reilly: Zone Blitz Brings Positive Change
Nearly two years have passed since the Zone 1 Blitz began in northwest Springfield. During the blitz, over 300 organizations— including Ozarks Food Harvest—committed to help improve the lives of residents in the northwest quadrant of Springfield. Projects included weatherization upgrades for homes, new sidewalk construction, bus stop additions, an expansion of affordable internet access and an increase to food access across Zone 1.
Since 2015, food access in Greene County has increased by 73 percent. And through 11 food pantries in Zones 1 and 2, 5 million meals—nearly $8 million worth of food— were distributed by Ozarks Food Harvest. The Food Bank also distributed 512,100 meals to Springfield Public Schools through the backpack program over the past two years. All of Ozarks Food Harvest’s programs are ongoing and slated for strategic growth both in Zone 1 and across Springfield.
Hunger and poverty go hand in hand, and solving the issue is an important subject to tackle if we want to build a better Springfield. Although many Zone 1 residents hold steady jobs and work hard to support their families, they still have trouble putting food on the table. Ozarks Food Harvest joined forces with community partners including Community Foundation of the Ozarks, the Northwest Project and others to address these root causes of poverty.
Emily, a 5th grader in Greene County, knows what it’s like to feel hungry and is grateful for how Ozarks Food Harvest provides for her family. “My dad’s money from work goes to bills, and the food bags give my family food for each week. I’m thankful for the food bags.”
There are many families just like Emily’s all across Springfield. But with Ozarks Food Harvest, they can rest assured that they will get the food they need.
As a supporter of The Food Bank and member of this community, I believe in the hard work that Ozarks Food Harvest is doing to feed our neighbors in need and better the community.
Without the food pantries located in Zone 1, thousands of people in northwest Springfield would have gone to bed hungry over the past two years.
I encourage you to learn more about how the Zone 1 Blitz is improving the lives of families across the community. It’s amazing to see how people are joining together to make this happen. By supporting Ozarks Food Harvest, you can help hungry people living in northwest Springfield—and across the 28 counties The Food Bank serves.
I believe that if we all come together and offer what we have—whether it’s our time, our money, our services or something else— that we can create a better community.
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.