Cope Gives Hope in Southwest Missouri
At Ozarks Food Harvest, our mission is to Transform Hunger into Hope in the Ozarks, because no one should have to wonder where their next meal is coming from. Food is a basic human need that helps us feel steady. For one of our partner charities, COPE, two more basic needs require urgent attention: safety and security.
COPE is a domestic violence shelter in Laclede County. Founded in 1991, COPE began when community members heard about the growing problem of domestic violence in their area. Without adequate resources available at the time, neighbors desperate to aid victims of domestic violence extended their help, sometimes offering up their own homes as shelter. These community members helped many people, but their generosity came with risks to their own safety. In response, a house was purchased to serve as a full-time domestic violence shelter, and has since evolved into a new 7,300 square foot facility fully equipped to shelter 28 people.
Judy Kile, executive director at COPE shares, “Most that come to us are scared, hurt, confused, and unsure of where their life is going. They are of all ages, socioeconomic levels, and backgrounds, most without the means to support themselves because they’ve been victims of violence.”
Coming from abusive situations, women and children served by COPE have often been isolated in more ways than one, including socially and financially, without resources of their own. COPE is a safe haven to women who feel like there are no doors open when they want to escape, and their services extend beyond a place to stay. In addition to shelter, COPE offers a 24-hour hotline, crisis intervention, legal advocacy, support groups, parenting help, and assistance finding numerous resources like transportation, documents, and more. The agency is even equipped to assist with orders of protection when the courthouse is closed.
As a shelter, COPE is responsible for providing each and every meal to the families in their care. These meals are crucial for more than sustenance; they provide camaraderie and hope. “We need food 24/7,” says Judy, “We always have enough food because of Ozarks Food Harvest. With this partnership, our food budget is not our main expense. We can use that for other things like transporting somebody or getting them birth certificates.”
Every person deserves to feel safe and secure. COPE’s services are the helping hand domestic violence survivors need to safely get out of an unsafe situation. Ozarks Food Harvest is honored to provide one piece of that support. With guaranteed daily meals at COPE, we hope that food is one less hurdle families need to worry about in their transition to a safer life.
If you need help finding safety or support, you can call the COPE hotline at 417-532-2885 or visit their website at https://copeoflebanon.com/.