National Guard continues to assist Ozarks Food Harvest agencies affected by COVID-19
Missouri National Guard will help The Food Bank distribute meals throughout holiday season
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The Missouri National Guard will continue to assist Ozarks Food Harvest and its network of food pantries throughout the holiday season as organizations prepare to meet an increased need and others temporarily close due to COVID-19.
For example, Ozarks Food Harvest is sending a Mobile Food Pantry to the parking lot of Crosslines Food Pantry on October 27 and November 3 to provide food to families while the pantry is temporarily closed due to COVID-19 exposure. The Food Bank has also provided Mobile Food Pantries in rural counties such as Shannon, Laclede and Pulaski County.
Since April 2020, Ozarks Food Harvest has hosted more than 70 Mobile Food Pantries with the National Guard to distribute 719,000 meals to nearly 42,000 individuals.
“So many people and organizations in the Ozarks are facing circumstances that are beyond their control right now,” said Bart Brown, Ozarks Food Harvest president/CEO. “Through our mobile distributions, our food pantries are still able to feed their communities and work toward getting them back on their feet. We’re incredibly grateful for the Missouri National Guard and the good work they’re doing with us right now.”
The Food Bank estimates that more families will struggle with hunger this holiday season due to job loss, reduced income and emergency expenses. Ozarks Food Harvest has spent an additional $2.2 million on purchased food to ensure food pantries don’t struggle to keep their shelves stocked. Through Feeding America, The Food Bank has also reinvested more than $200,000 in freezer and coolers for its food pantries and meal programs.
In the past seven months, The National Guard has contributed more than 6,700 hours of time to help sort and pack food at Ozarks Food Harvest. Together, temporary staff and members of the National Guard have sorted more than 1 million pounds of food, assembled 6,400 emergency food boxes and packed 6,800 Weekend Backpack Program bags.
Ozarks Food Harvest provides more than 22 million meals to more than 261,000 unduplicated individuals every year. The Food Bank serves 270 organizations across 28 Ozarks counties to assist the 1 in 5 children and 1 in 7 adults that struggle with food insecurity.
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About Ozarks Food Harvest — The Food Bank
Ozarks Food Harvest is the Feeding America food bank for southwest Missouri, providing food to 270 organizations across 28 Ozarks counties serving 261,000 unduplicated individuals. The Food Bank provides more than 22 million meals annually. Learn more at ozarksfoodharvest.org, facebook.com/ozarksfoodharvest or twitter.com/ozksfoodharvest.