OFH expands its existing support to Springfield Public Schools
Financial commitment during next school year is nearly half a million dollars
SPRINGFIELD, Mo.— Ozarks Food Harvest has long served “food insecure” children attending Springfield Public Schools with the Weekend Backpack Program, and last year, the regional food bank piloted its first school pantry to help reach more students in need.
Now Ozarks Food Harvest is making a commitment to provide even more support to meet the increasing need for hunger-relief services, as recently identified by the Kids First Committee and the Every Child Project. The Food Bank’s CEO says it’s part of OFH’s latest three-year strategic plan, “Feed, Strengthen, Lead.” New concepts include providing Mobile Food Pantry distributions at schools and providing SNAP assistance for student families.
“Our goal is to increase distribution of healthy food to our partners and this includes increasing our child feeding programs to reach more families struggling to make ends meet,” said OFH President/CEO Bart Brown. “This effort supports all three pillars of our plan by feeding more hungry children, strengthening our partners by investing in them and leading child hunger advocacy and awareness efforts in our community.”
Officials estimate Ozarks Food Harvest’s financial commitment to serve SPS will be $450,000 during The Food Bank’s next fiscal year. The partnership includes:
- Supplying at least 18 SPS schools with bags of nutritious, child-friendly food via The Food Bank’s Weekend Backpack Program. Bingham, Delaware, Holland, Sunshine and Truman were added in 2012, and an increased number of bags were provided to Campbell, Weaver, Weller, Westport and Williams beginning in 2012. The bags go to at-risk students to take home over the weekends, when they might otherwise go hungry.
- Providing SPS with a minimum of 10 Mobile Food Pantry program distributions. Each distribution will serve more than 200 student families, providing five tons of food or enough for more than 8,000 meals. The first Mobile Food Pantry distribution is scheduled at a school later this month.
- Establishing School Food Pantries in partnership with SPS. “Market on the Hill” was established in 2012 at Hillcrest High School. A second school is currently being researched.
- Providing SNAP Outreach assistance to help more families benefit from the federal safety-net, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly called “food stamps.”
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About Ozarks Food Harvest—The Food Bank
Ozarks Food Harvest is the Feeding America food bank for southwest Missouri, serving 250 nonprofit agencies across 28 Ozarks counties. The Food Bank distributes 10 million meals annually to 170,000 unduplicated individuals. OFH celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2013. Learn more at ozarksfoodharvest.org, facebook.com/ozarksfoodharvest or twitter.com/ozksfoodharvest.