Ozarks Food Harvest to double distribution center to meet growing need
The Food Bank asks the public to raise $900,000 to meet challenge grant for building addition
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — By the end of next year, Ozarks Food Harvest plans to double its distribution center to meet the growing need for food assistance across southwest Missouri.
The Ending Hunger, Building Hope capital campaign will add a 56,000 square-foot warehouse addition to The Food Bank’s current O’Reilly Center for Hunger Relief in north Springfield.
The new distribution center has been funded through private gifts over the past year, and now Ozarks Food Harvest’s staff and board of directors is asking the public to help raise $900,000 to meet a challenge grant from the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and close out the campaign.
Since moving into its facility in 2009, Ozarks Food Harvest increased its distribution from nearly six million to 15 million meals provided annually, however, the need for food assistance continues to outpace the record growth in meals served by The Food Bank and its network of 270 pantries, programs and feeding sites.
According to Feeding America, Ozarks Food Harvest’s national hunger-relief partner, southwest Missouri needs hungerrelief agencies to provide more than 31 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.
Just last year The Food Bank was forced to turn away over one 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.
“This campaign means more than growing our facility,” 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.”
Ozarks Food Harvest must secure a final $900,000 by Dec. 1 in order to receive the $700,000 challenge grant and close out the campaign. Tax-deductible donations can be made securely online at ozarksfoodharvest.org/donate.
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About Ozarks Food Harvest — The Food Bank
Ozarks Food Harvest is the Feeding America food bank for southwest Missouri, serving 270 organizations across 28 Ozarks counties. The Food Bank provides 15 million meals annually to more than 261,000 unduplicated individuals. Learn more at ozarksfoodharvest.org, facebook.com/ozarksfoodharvest or twitter.com/ozksfoodharvest.