Effects of COVID-19 remain
The future for our community looks bright. COVID-19 restrictions are decreasing, restaurants are opening to customers, and many of us are able to see friends and family for the first time in a year. There’s a lot to be hopeful for, but at Ozarks Food Harvest, we know the effects of COVID-19 will linger for the foreseeable future.
That’s why The Food Bank is in it for the long haul. It took 10 years for food insecurity rates to recover after the previous recession, but challenges like this bring out the best in our
food bank and the 270 hunger-relief organizations we serve.
Over the course of the COVID-19 crisis, we’ve adjusted and innovated to continue serving the families of southwest Missouri in the best way possible. We increased our use of Mobile Food Pantries, distributing more than a million meals to 64,000 individuals who had never received food assistance before. We purchased $3.6 million worth of food to make sure no organization in our network had an empty cupboard. In total, we provided a record-breaking 23.5 million meals to people facing hunger in the Ozarks.
Fighting hunger during the pandemic has truly been a team effort, and we couldn’t have done it without the help of our partner agencies.
Our 28-county service network contains mostly rural areas. Many families living in these communities were hit hardest during the pandemic. Feeding America reports that 87 percent of the counties with the highest rates of food insecurity are rural.
I’d like to share with you a COVID-inspired innovation from Christian Associations of Table Rock Lake, an organization working to make food more accessible for a rural population.
“Some of the food was delivered to their clients’ doorstep, while others scheduled pickup times for clients to come to the distribution location,” shared Christian Associates of Table Rock Lake in Stone County. “As time went by, we developed drive-thru distribution models that worked perfectly and will continue into the future because they are so efficient.”
I want to thank everyone who has made this increased assistance possible. I’m so grateful for our agency partners innovating alongside us during this time.
As we commit to the long haul of serving our community, we would appreciate your help. Just $1 can help provide $10 worth of groceries for a family facing hunger right now. If you are able to make a gift, click here. Thank you for Transforming Hunger into Hope with us!