Ozarks Food Harvest needs volunteers to help with increased demand for food

June 21, 2021

The Food Bank sorts 95,000 pounds of food every week for a network of 270 hunger-relief partners

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Ozarks Food Harvest needs volunteers this summer to help the 1 in 5 children and
1 in 7 adults facing hunger in southwest Missouri due to COVID-19.

Since April 2020, Missouri National Guard members have temporarily filled many of the volunteer slots at Ozarks Food
Harvest to help overcome issues caused by COVID-19 such as increased demand, declines in donation of food and disruptions to the supply chain. The National Guard unit has been reassigned, which means The Food Bank needs help to process the more than 95,000 pounds of food coming through their warehouse every week.

“The Missouri National Guard has been incredibly helpful during this time to make sure we continue to get food out the door,” said Jolene Thompson, volunteer engagement coordinator at Ozarks Food Harvest. “As we continue to distribute
at an elevated rate, we’re asking the community for volunteers so families don’t have to worry about their next meal as
they get back on their feet.”

Ozarks Food Harvest currently offers 13 volunteer sessions each week at the O’Reilly Center for Hunger Relief and their partner gardens. Volunteers sort food items, use food safety guidelines for inspection and make product ready for distribution to The Food Bank’s 270 hunger-relief partners.

Volunteers also help build Senior Food Boxes, assemble Weekend Backpack Program food bags and assist with gleaning at partner gardens. During The Food Bank’s last fiscal year, more than 3,000 volunteers donated more than 21,000 hours of time.

Currently, weekday sessions at The Food Bank are Monday–Friday from 9 a.m.–12 p.m. and Monday–Thursday from 1–4 p.m. Beginning July 6, evening sessions are Tuesday from 6–9 p.m. Garden sessions are Monday from 8–10 a.m.and Thursday 2-4 p.m. and 5-7 p.m.

Those interested in volunteering can apply and schedule sessions online at All sessions must be pre-scheduled and closed-toe shoes are required. For volunteer program questions, contact volunteer engagement coordinator Jolene Thompson at (417) 865-3411.

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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 hunger-relief organizations across 28 Ozarks counties. The Food Bank provides 22 million meals annually to more than 261,000 unduplicated individuals. Learn more at, or