Ozarks Food Harvest Announces Milestone in Capital Campaign

December 13, 2006

SPRINGFIELD, Mo.— Ozarks Food Harvest’s “Compassion in Action” campaign leadership committee announced today that The Food Bank has accepted a challenge grant from the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation of Tulsa.

The challenge grant will go to Ozarks Food Harvest’s “Compassion in Action” capital campaign to build a new $4.1 million food distribution warehouse in North Springfield.

“My family and I believe that it is absolutely essential to our community that we support this campaign. The Mabee Foundation challenge grant presents a great opportunity for us to move closer to our goal,” honorary campaign chair Charlie O’Reilly said. “To receive the $465,000 challenge grant we must raise $1,010,000 in gifts and pledges by October 2007.”

Ozarks Food Harvest is the only food bank for 29 counties in Southwest Missouri, serving more than 300 agency partners such as shelters, soup kitchens, senior centers, pantries and day cares. These agencies rely on Ozarks Food Harvest for to supply their pantries for local distribution, and the construction of a new food bank warehouse will provide more food.

“In 2005 we were forced to turn down over a quarter million pounds of food because there was simply no where to store it,” said past board president and member of the campaign leadership committee Jim Lewis.  “Ozarks Food Harvest has reached the point where the current facility is preventing The Food Bank from accepting all the donations it could be receiving. The new building not only gives us more space to accept and distribute more food, but also the right kind of space, specifically refrigerated spaced.”

According to Lewis, the construction of the new building will allow The Food Bank to double its current distribution of food to the needy working poor, children and elderly in the Ozarks.

“Currently, The Food Bank helps more than 37,000 people in the Ozarks each month, and our community can’t afford to turn food away. This new facility means more food to more people in the Ozarks,” Lewis said.

The J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation, Inc., of Tulsa, Oklahoma, was formed in 1948 by Mr. John E. Mabee and his wife, Lottie E. Mabee, both natives of Missouri, with the purpose of aiding charitable organizations.

Ozarks Food Harvest is the America’s Second Harvest affiliate food bank for Southwest Missouri. Last year, The Food Bank distributed more than four million pounds of food to its network of more than 300 hunger relief agencies across 29 Ozarks counties. Ozarks Food Harvest also offers direct relief through its Kids Cafe®, Food for ThoughtTM, Club F.U.N.TM, Full Circle GardenTM and Mobile Food PantryTM programs. The Food Bank was the inaugural Economic Impact Nonprofit of the Year in recognition of its $7.5 million impact on Southwest Missouri’s regional economy.

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To learn more, contact Lindsey Neddenriep at (417) 865-3411.