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Ozarks Food Harvest raises $21,000 during Give Ozarks to feed kids

May 4, 2016

In just 24 hours, supporters of Ozarks Food Harvest donated $21,163 to fund a program that strives to feed the one in four children in the Ozarks who aren’t sure where their next meal will come from.

The funds were raised during the second annual Give Ozarks on May 3. Hosted by Community Foundation of the Ozarks, Give Ozarks gave over 220 nonprofits the opportunity to collect donations during a 24-hour online fundraiser. In total, over $1.04 million was raised for local charities.

“As we watched the donation ticker climb throughout the day, we were touched by the generosity of our donors,” said Bart Brown, president/CEO of Ozarks Food Harvest. “We are grateful for the hundreds of people who committed to partnering with us to feed kids in our community who are struggling with hunger.”

Nearly 250 individuals and businesses donated to Ozarks Food Harvest during Give Ozarks. Twenty-five percent of those were first time donors to the community’s only food bank.

All funds raised during Give Ozarks will go to ensure kids have food to eat through the Weekend Backpack Program. This initiative gives 1,600 kids in 52 Ozarks schools bags of food to take home over the weekend when school breakfasts and lunches aren’t available. The donations made on May 3, which exceeded the goal of $20,000, will provide 2,645 bags.

“We met one woman out in the community who shared that her son received food through the Backpack Program. She said money was tight, but she wanted to give what she could to fund the program that meant so much to her son and her family,” Brown said. “It is stories like this that make Give Ozarks such an incredible day. A lot of people coming together and giving what they can to make our community a better place for us all.”

Food Bank staff thanks DairiConcepts for its $5,000 match that helped to encourage donations throughout the day, as well as gifts from sponsors Commerce Bank, Vance Chiropractic and Bohannon Auto Services. Support from staff and customers at Legacy Bagelry, Café Cusco, Big Momma’s Coffee and Kingdom Coffee was also very much appreciated.

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About Ozarks Food Harvest — The Food Bank
Ozarks Food Harvest is the Feeding America food bank for southwest Missouri, serving more than 200 organizations across 28 Ozarks counties. The Food Bank provides 14 million meals annually to more than 260,000 unduplicated individuals. Learn more at ozarksfoodharvest.org, facebook.com/ozarksfoodharvest or twitter.com/ozksfoodharvest.

Ozarks Food Harvest sets goal to raise $20,000 during Give Ozarks

April 29, 2016

One in four children in southwest Missouri may not know where their next meal is coming from. Ozarks Food Harvest is asking the community to help these kids struggling with hunger by making a donation during the second annual Give Ozarks online day of giving on May 3.

The regional food bank has set a goal to raise $20,000 for its Weekend Backpack Program during the midnight to midnight drive. The Weekend Backpack Program provides 56,000 bags of food annually to kids in 52 schools across the Ozarks. Every donation of $8 will provide one child a bag of food filled with six meals for the weekend.

“The number of children in the Ozarks struggling with hunger continues to be too high, that’s why initiatives like the Weekend Backpack Program are so critical,” said Denise Gibson, director of development and communication at Ozarks Food Harvest. “Not only does the program provide food to kids in need, it gives them hope that someone cares.”

According to data released this week by Feeding America, Ozarks Food Harvest’s national partner, 22.9 percent of children in southwest Missouri are food insecure. That’s one in four children — higher than the Missouri average of 20.8 percent — who face uncertainty finding their next meal and may go to bed hungry.

“We’re excited to partner with Community Foundation of the Ozarks for this event, and ask that those who are passionate about ending hunger get involved,” said Gibson. “It takes all of us working together to make a difference.”

All donations made through Give Ozarks will ensure that at-risk children receive bags filled with nutritious, easy-open meals every weekend. If the goal is met, children in two participating schools will be sponsored for an entire year.

Give Ozarks sponsor DairiConcepts will match the first $5,000 donated on May 3, and Commerce Bank, Vance Chiropractic and Bohannon Auto Services made one-time donations that will help The Food Bank reach its goal.

Area restaurants have partnered with Ozarks Food Harvest to encourage their customers to donate. Anyone who gives on May 3 during Give Ozarks can get these special deals: Legacy Bagelry, free doughnut; Café Cusco, free dessert; Big Momma’s Coffee, free coffee or half-off a specialty drink; and Kingdom Coffee, buy one get one free house coffee.

Making a secure donation is simple. On May 3, donors can log onto giveozarks.org/2016/ofh to complete a secure and simple credit card donation. All donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by the IRS.

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About Ozarks Food Harvest — The Food Bank
Ozarks Food Harvest is the Feeding America food bank for southwest Missouri, serving more than 200 organizations across 28 Ozarks counties. The Food Bank provides 14 million meals annually to more than 260,000 unduplicated individuals. Learn more at ozarksfoodharvest.org, facebook.com/ozarksfoodharvest or twitter.com/ozksfoodharvest.

Ozarks Food Harvest announces new board leadership

April 21, 2016

Community leaders commit to supporting the mission of feeding the Ozarks

Ozarks Food Harvest appointed new leadership to its board of directors and added one new member this week.

The newly-elected president of the board, Tamara de Wild has served as the associate general council and director of legal services at O’Reilly Auto Parts since 2008, previously working as an attorney in private practice for 13 years.

“I’ve been passionate about the issue of hunger for a long time,” said de Wild. “Hunger has an impact on so many different areas of life, whether it is health, education or the ability to concentrate.”

“The number of people who are food insecure now is really at a record high. Ozarks Food Harvest is the primary means to get the food and distribute it to the member agencies so that we can better meet that need.”

Dr. Meera Scarrow, an obstetrician-gynecologist at Mercy Hospital-Springfield who also serves at the Jordan Valley Community Health Center, was named president-elect; Tommy Wohlgemuth, CFO of SGC Foodservice, was appointed treasurer; and Tim Bellanti, senior vice-president and division manager of Associated Wholesale Grocers, is the board’s new secretary.

Brad Crain, president of Arvest Bank, recently became the newest member of the board.

The 16-member volunteer board guides the work at Ozarks Food Harvest, overseeing strategic goals, financial decisions and overall operations of southwest Missouri’s only food bank.

“Our board is made-up of some of the finest people in our area. It means a lot to me and the staff at Ozarks Food Harvest that these successful leaders in our community would give of their time and talents to further our mission,” said Bart Brown, president/CEO of Ozarks Food Harvest. “We’re honored to announce our new board leadership, and we’re confident their expertise will be critical as we work to provide even more food to struggling people in the Ozarks.”

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About Ozarks Food Harvest — The Food Bank
Ozarks Food Harvest is the Feeding America food bank for southwest Missouri, serving more than 200 organizations across 28 Ozarks counties. The Food Bank provides 14 million meals annually to more than 260,000 unduplicated individuals. Learn more at ozarksfoodharvest.org, facebook.com/ozarksfoodharvest or twitter.com/ozksfoodharvest.

Annual grocers’ fundraiser collects over $31,700 for hunger relief

March 30, 2016

Nearly 60 grocers participate in the 17th Check Out Hunger supporting Ozarks Food Harvest

Nearly 60 area grocery stores partnered with Ozarks Food Harvest for the 17th annual Check Out Hunger, raising $31,763 to provide nearly 159,000 meals to children, families and seniors in southwest Missouri.

Although the fundraiser ran from November through December 2015, The Food Bank received checks from participating grocers throughout the first few months of 2016. This is an ideal time for Ozarks Food Harvest to receive the financial boost from Check Out Hunger due to the drop in donations The Food Bank experiences after the holiday season.

“Now that the final check is in, we’re excited to announce another successful total,” said Denise Gibson, Ozarks Food Harvest director of development and communication. “We’re thankful to have such dedicated area grocers, and their customers, that have made this campaign possible for 17 years.”

Check Out Hunger gives shoppers the opportunity to add a $1, $3 or $5 tax-free donation to their grocery bill when checking out at area retailers.

In 2015, participating grocers included Akin’s, Bistro Market, Country Mart, Harter House, Hy-Vee, King Cash Saver, Murfin’s Market, Pennington’s Supermarket, Price Cutter, Price Cutter Plus, Ramey, Rhodes Family Price Chopper, Smitty’s, Summer Fresh and Woods Supermarket.

Since the annual fundraiser began, Check Out Hunger has raised a grand total of $418,882 — providing nearly 2.1 million meals for hungry people throughout The Food Bank’s 28-county service area.

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About Ozarks Food Harvest — The Food Bank
Ozarks Food Harvest is the Feeding America food bank for southwest Missouri, serving more than 200 organizations across 28 Ozarks counties. The Food Bank provides 14 million meals annually to more than 260,000 unduplicated individuals. Learn more at ozarksfoodharvest.org, facebook.com/ozarksfoodharvest or twitter.com/ozksfoodharvest.