Hungerthon Wrap Up

Hungerthon Wrap Up

September 13, 2021 in Food Bank News

Ozarks Food Harvest is extremely thankful for every individual, foundation and business that contributed during the 23rd annual Hungerthon.

Last month, The Food Bank and iHeartRadio Springfield teamed up with the community to raise funds for the Weekend Backpack Program. The four-day radio-thon collected a record-breaking $254,910 which will provide 708 children with nutritious meals and snacks every weekend of the school year. Since 1999, hunger heroes have donated more than $2.5 million through Hungerthon.

The Weekend Backpack Program was created to provide weekend meals for children in one rural community, but after a short time, other rural schools and even those in Springfield began asking for assistance, too. The need was much greater than anticipated, so Ozarks Food Harvest immediately increased fundraising efforts for the program to provide more meals.

The initiative provides nearly 1,600 food-insecure children with food to take home every Friday throughout the entire school year. One in five children in southwest Missouri struggle with hunger, especially on the weekends when school meals aren’t available.

One parent whose child receives the backpack said, “With the backpack program, we can rest assured that the kids will have their bellies full. Thank you very much for making this program possible.”

Hungerthon listeners tuned in to Alice 95.5, US97, 100.5 The Wolf and 105.9 KGBX throughout the four-day event, and donations were accepted by phone and online.

“It’s been another great year to raise funds for kids facing hunger in the Ozarks,” said Clint “Girlie” Gerlek, VP of programming for iHeartRadio and Hungerthon co-host. “We’re so proud to partner with a great organization like Ozarks Food Harvest to help families in our community get on the road to recovery.”

Event donations were matched by individuals, businesses and foundations including A-1 Guarantee Roofing, AECI with a match from CoBank, The Bank of Missouri, Ethel Curbow, Harter House, Healthy Blue, Heart of America Beverage Company, Hy-Vee, Kum & Go, MassMutual, McDonald’s, Mother’s Brewing Company, Peck’s Insurance & Financial Services, Ron & Janice Penney, Physical Therapy Specialists Clinic, Positronic, Ross Construction Group, and Yahweh’s Place at Cedarville. Several local businesses including Air Services All Services, Hy-Vee, and Jersey Mike’s served as event sponsors.

Weekend Backpack Program donations are accepted all year long. To make a contribution, visit and select “Weekend Backpack Program” from the dropdown menu.