Clear Channel Radio adds 50,000 pounds and cash to food distribution efforts in Joplin
Annual “Hungerthon” radiothon will go as scheduled next week to aid OFH Backpack Program
SPRINGFIELD, Mo.— Clear Channel Radio in Springfield collected food items and supplies for Ozarks Food Harvest Joplin relief, Monday through Wednesday of this week in the Dillons parking lot at Kansas and Battlefield, collecting 49,590 pounds of nonperishable food, paper products and hygiene items, and $5,000 in cash from drive-up donors.
Two truckloads of these donations have already reached Joplin and have been provided to Ozarks Food Harvest agency sites for those in need. Remaining donations are warehoused in Springfield, and nearby Joplin, to be accessed in the weeks and months to come. This includes more than 30 truckloads—secured by Ozarks Food Harvest from Feeding America®, national manufacturers and others — worth an estimated $1.8 million.
Ozarks Food Harvest says it is vital that Joplin is not overwhelmed with unnecessary donations or too much of a particular product, and officials at The Food Bank say this is the case due to the massive number of groups sending unsolicited trucks of supplies. Ozarks Food Harvest has taken the lead role among disaster response agencies for food distribution at the request of the American Red Cross: Greater Ozarks Chapter, according to OFH President/CEO Bart Brown.
As The Food Bank responds to the Joplin situation, staff members continue to gear up for their largest fundraising effort of the year, Hungerthon — the four-day radio-thon on Alice 95.5 FM with Kevin Howard and Liz Delany. For the thirteenth year, the Clear Channel station will ask its listeners to sponsor Ozarks Food Harvest Backpack Program children who receive backpacks of nutritious food over the weekends, when those participating do not have access to free and reduced meals that they rely on at school.
The goal for the 2011 event, which takes place Friday, June 3 through Monday, June 6, was set at $125,000, or enough for 415 backpacks filled with food every weekend for the entire school year. Ozarks Food Harvest’s Backpack Program serves 1,000 SWMO children weekly. The event has consistently raised, either nearly or more than, $100,000. The Food Bank says it believes community members will step up even after giving to Ozarks Food Harvest for the Joplin relief effort. The Backpack Program services Jasper County and Joplin; one site, Emerson Elementary, sustained damage by this week’s tornado.
All Springfield Clear Channel stations participated in the drive Monday through Wednesday, including Alice 95.5, 100.5 The Wolf, 105.9 KGBX, US97 and ESPN1400. Clear Channel Radio staff held live remotes Monday and Tuesday and asked the community to help across all stations on-air, on each website, e-newsletter and more.
The Dillons on W. Battlefield, where Clear Channel Radio held its drive, continues to collect donations in in-store barrels for Ozarks Food Harvest.
Clear Channel – Springfield’s sister stations in Fort Smith, Arkansas, also filled trucks for Joplin efforts. One JB Hunt truck was packed full and has already been processed at Ozarks Food Harvest — an additional 33,275 pounds of supplies.
Today, Peterbilt of Springfield collected donations for Ozarks Food Harvest Joplin relief at the Price Cutter Plus on E. Battlefield and will be there until 6:00 p.m.
Volunteers are needed at Ozarks Food Harvest in Springfield to unload, inspect, sort and repack for warehousing and distribution. Community members must call to schedule an appointment. The greatest need is for day-time volunteers; evening and weekend sessions have quickly filled to capacity. Volunteers must be scheduled for safety reasons, and no individual under 14 is accepted. Closed-toe shoes required. No volunteers are currently needed in Joplin, and The Food Bank encourages those wishing to travel to Joplin to wait for the coming weeks and months when it will need volunteers for efforts in the area.
Ozarks Food Harvest has a 28-year history in southwest Missouri and has had member food pantries and feeding sites in Joplin and Jasper County for more than a decade.
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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 300 hunger relief organizations across 28 Ozarks counties. The Food Bank reaches 20,000 individuals weekly and distributes nine million pounds of food annually. Ozarks Food Harvest was named the 2011 Small Business of the Year by the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce. Learn more at ozarksfoodharvest.org and at facebook.com/ozarksfoodharvest.