Ozarks Food Harvest provides 20 million meals through network of charities in past year
The Food Bank plans to continue investing in the community’s food system to help end hunger
SPRINGFIELD, Mo.— Ozarks Food Harvest provided 20 million meals in the past year through its network of faith-based and community charities across a third of the state of Missouri.
From July 2022 to June 2023, The Food Bank invested in their 28-county service area by increasing distribution through their Mobile Food Pantry program, drive-thru food pantries and Mobile Produce Pantry. They also awarded $500,000 in grants to their network to help sustain and expand hunger-relief efforts across southwest Missouri.
More than 900,000 meals were distributed through Mobile Food Pantries to help feed more than 60,000 individuals facing hunger across the Ozarks. The Food Bank also spent more than $2.5 million in food purchases. In total, Ozarks Food Harvest has distributed more than 23 million pounds of food, including 5.2 million pounds of fresh produce.
“The demand for food assistance is higher now than it was during the peak of the pandemic,” said Kenny Ross, vice president of sales at Ross Construction Group and Ozarks Food Harvest’s board president. “The board recognizes that further investments will need to be made in the next year to help families get back on their feet.”
Ozarks Food Harvest’s Retail Pick-Up Program had another record-breaking year by rescuing more than 7.5 million pounds of edible food from being sent to the landfill. The program coordinates pick-ups of food donations like fresh produce, frozen meat and dairy from more than 160 grocers every week.
“The last year has been a perfect storm as families continue to deal with increased childcare, housing and food costs,” said Bart Brown, president/CEO of Ozarks Food Harvest. “As demand increases, we will continue to serve as the backbone of charitable food giving in southwest Missouri to ensure families can put food on the table.”
According to Feeding America’s latest Map the Meal Gap study, 1 in 7 children and adults experience food insecurity in Ozarks Food Harvest’s service area; higher than Missouri’s overall average of 1 in 8 people experiencing food insecurity.
Through its network of 270 charities, Ozarks Food Harvest serves more than 60,000 unduplicated children, families and seniors each month.
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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 faith-based and community charities across a third of Missouri. The Food Bank reaches more than 60,000 individuals monthly and provides more than 20 million meals annually. Learn more at ozarksfoodharvest.org, facebook.com/ozarksfoodharvest or instagram.com/ozarksfoodharvest.