Letter to the Editor: Response to reader’s letter

July 13, 2009

In response to today’s reader letter, Wal-Mart should donate food items, I’d like to make it known that the Supercenters here in the Springfield area actually do donate food items — enough for the community’s regional food bank, Ozarks Food Harvest, to meet the increasing needs of its more than 350 partner charities.

Chosen among 200 food banks nationwide, Ozarks Food Harvest is fortunate enough to participate in a pilot retail pickup program through a partnership garnered between Walmart and Feeding America — The Nation’s Food Bank Network. Ten stores in Springfield and surrounding communities donate surplus food items including meat, bakery items and deli products that are less than four days beyond the sell-by date. Since the program launched last November, The Food Bank has received 306,904 pounds of donated food items from all ten stores, ultimately allowing Ozarks Food Harvest to distribute more food to its member network across 29 southwest Missouri counties.

What’s more is that because of its success, Walmart plans to roll out the program to every Walmart store in the country, linking stores nationwide to a Feeding America member food bank by the end of this year.

As members of this giving community, we should know just how privileged we are to live in the Ozarks. The Wal-Mart Foundation has invested generously in our community. The foundation made a $100,000 gift to the Rotary Club of Springfield North for the creation of a special needs ballpark for children, and also made a $50,000 gift to the Care to Learn Fund of the Springfield Public Schools Foundation in support of Ozarks Food Harvest’s Weekend Backpack Program. Our local Walmart stores reinforce their ongoing support of the region’s food bank by conducting food drives every quarter also in support of the Weekend Backpack Program, ensuring at-risk children have nutritious food over the weekend.

The local Sam’s Club also recently supported your local food bank by donating all of the pallet racking systems for the new warehouse located at 2810 N. Cedarbrook Ave. in North Springfield. The newest Sam’s Club will be the latest to take part in the program to distribute surplus food to the area’s hungry.

We appreciate the kindness of Walmart, the Wal-Mart Foundation, Sam’s Club and especially the associates of our local stores who continually chose to support the only food bank in southwest Missouri. Truly, you are feeding southwest Missouri and Transforming Hunger into Hope for those who are seeking assistance.

—Bart Brown, executive director, Ozarks Food Harvest

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