Demand for Food Exceeds Pandemic High
Right now, we’re dealing with an emergency. The demand for food assistance in southwest Missouri continues to increase every month to be higher than it was during the peak of the pandemic. In June 2023, The Food Bank’s network of faith-based and community charities served more than 70,000 individuals in a month; that’s nearly 20,000 more than during the height of the COVID crisis.
The increased demand for food is the result of a perfect storm of high childcare, housing and food costs that make it difficult for working families to get back on their feet. In Ozarks Food Harvest’s service area, 1 in 7 children and adults face hunger. That means you likely know a neighbor, friend or child’s classmate that isn’t sure when they will be eating their next meal.
While the demand for food has increased, assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s nutrition programs have decreased. Programs like The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) help Ozarks Food Harvest bridge the food gap for working families who need immediate nutrition assistance. Over the past two years, TEFAP food deliveries have decreased by 64 percent at The Food Bank. Emergency benefits to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) have also ended, which makes it difficult for many families to get access to the food they need.
One of the best ways to help is by making a tax-free charitable gift from your Individual Retirement Account (IRA), also known as a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD), that may you save you more in taxes than traditional charitable donations. Additionally, consider including Ozarks Food Harvest in your estate planning as Mary Beth and I have done so your gift can give in perpetuity.
If you have questions about donating to Ozarks Food Harvest in these ways, please give Bart a call at 417-865-3411 to walk you through it. You can help working families across the Ozarks put food on the table and have the nutrition they need this holiday season.