Ozarks Food Harvest awarded Mabee Challenge Grant

January 23, 2018

The Food Bank will use the funds to double the size of its distribution center to meet the growing need

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Ozarks Food Harvest donors successfully met a $700,000 J.E. & L.E. Mabee Foundation Challenge Grant, which closes The Ending Hunger, Building Hope capital campaign.

With these funds, The Food Bank will add a 56,000 square-foot warehouse addition to The Food Bank’s current O’Reilly Center for Hunger Relief in north Springfield. A lead gift from the O’Reilly family, many other donors and the Mabee Foundation Challenge Grant made it possible to meet the $4.8 million goal to build and furnish the new expansion.

According to Feeding America, Ozarks Food Harvest’s national hunger-relief partner, southwest Missouri needs hunger-relief agencies to provide more than 30 million meals to meet the needs of men, women and children who struggle with hunger. This building addition will give Ozarks Food Harvest the capacity to, in collaboration with charitable and government partners, provide more than 30 million meals annually, effectively closing the meal gap for the Ozarks.

“This campaign has grown the philanthropic pool for our community,” said Tamara de Wild, Ozarks Food Harvest board president. “Bringing this amount of out-of-state funds spurred some donors to make the single largest gift or pledge they’ve ever made to a nonprofit.”
Just last year, The Food Bank was forced to turn away over 1.4 million pounds of food because it didn’t have the space, or the right kind of space, to accept the donations. The new distribution center will allow for The Food Bank to grow rapidly and provide more nutritious food to the one in four people in the Ozarks who receive food assistance.

“Our fight to end hunger is only made possibly by the amazing generosity of our donors,” said Bart Brown, president/CEO of Ozarks Food Harvest. “With more space, we can provide millions of additional meals to those struggling in the Ozarks. Like children who cannot concentrate at school because of their growling stomachs, hard-working families who don’t have enough for dinner and seniors who face impossible choices between food and medical care. This growth will truly provide hope for our struggling neighbors.”

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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 16.8 million meals annually., or