OFH, MFBA and Feeding America coordinate unprecedented disaster response
SPRINGFIELD, Mo.— Ozarks Food Harvest, along with the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity, Feeding America®, and the five other Missouri food banks making up the Missouri Food Bank Association (MFBA), have now put together one dozen truckloads of food and supplies to make available to State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) and other disaster response agencies in the wake of the deadliest tornado in decades.
Feeding America® has assembled truckloads of water and batteries, and the six MFBA food banks are assembling truckloads of MREs, ready-to-eat food and snacks, diapers, Gatorade and more. Other Feeding America® food banks across the country are mobilizing as well. Alabama food banks are sending truckloads of cleaning supplies, trash bags and sack lunches.
Ozarks Food Harvest is acting as the staging area for the efforts at their facility, the O’Reilly Center for Hunger Relief at 2810 N. Cedarbrook Ave. in North Springfield.
“So far we have assembled nearly half a million pounds of food and supplies valued at $650,000 to be ready for the affected area,” said Bart Brown, president/CEO at Ozarks Food Harvest. “SEMA and other disaster responders have requested that we hold off shipments today until they finish other search and rescue efforts.”
“FEMA has also asked us to spread the message that Joplin is overwhelmed with unsolicited donations and are in dire need of discouraging folks from sending unsolicited donations. As emergency management professionals, we know the secondary disaster this can create, and can redirect valuable life-sustaining resources to sort, package, transport and distribute items that may not meet the needs of disaster survivors.”
The Food Bank plans to set up smaller staging areas in Carthage and Independence, Kan., so that the flow of product to the affected area will be smooth and constant.
“We are very fortunate to be able to rely on Feeding America® and the 200 partner food banks across the country for assistance during this unprecedented time,” Brown said.
Donations are still needed and can be delivered to Ozarks Food Harvest at 2810 N. Cedarbrook Ave. in Springfield. Monetary donations are also requested at this time and can be made securely online at ozarksfoodharvest.org or to OFH, Attn: Joplin Disaster Relief, P.O. Box 5746, Springfield, MO 65801-5746.
If community members wish to donate supplies, The Food Bank is requesting easy-open, ready-to-eat nonperishable food items, snacks such as crackers and granola bars, all types of personal hygiene items, including diapers, and paper products such as paper plates, eating utensils, paper towels and toilet paper. Cleaning supplies are also accepted. Water bottles are not a priority from donors at this time.
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About Ozarks Food Harvest—The Food Bank
Ozarks Food Harvest is the Feeding America® food bank for southwest Missouri, servingmore 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.
About the Missouri Food Bank Association
The Missouri Food Bank Association is a coalition of six Feeding America® food banks inMissouri serving every county in the state. Last year, Missouri’s food banks distributed more than 88 million pounds of food to hungry Missourians through a network of 1,500 food pantries, shelters and kitchens.
About Feeding America®
Feeding America provides low-income individuals and families with the fuel to survive andeven thrive. As the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity, our network members supply food to more than 37 million Americans each year, including 14 million children and 3 million seniors. Serving the entire United States, more than 200 member food banks support 61,000 agencies that address hunger in all of its forms. For more information on how you can fight hunger in your community and across the country, visit http://www.feedingamerica.org. Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/FeedingAmerica or follow our news on Twitter at twitter.com/FeedingAmerica.