Record number of meals distributed through OFH’s hunger-relief network
SPRINGFIELD, Mo.— Ozarks Food Harvest distributed nearly 16.4 million meals last fiscal year, ending June 30, making it another record year for feeding those in need across the Ozarks.
The regional food bank is now more than halfway to its goal of providing 30 million meals to close the meal gap.
This includes 677,000 meals attributed to Ozarks Food Harvest’s SNAP outreach to eligible families, generating $3.3 million in economic impact for southwest Missouri. Without this outreach, these meals could go unclaimed.
“Behind every meal, there’s a story,” said Tamara de Wild, associate general counsel and director of legal services at O’Reilly Auto Parts and Ozarks Food Harvest’s board president. “A child worrying about his empty stomach rather than playing outside, a family struggling to keep up with expenses when mom or dad’s hours at work are cut or a senior making the unimaginable choice between groceries and medication – these are real experiences folks are facing every day in our community. We’re honored to help feed these families.”
More than 15.1 million meals were distributed directly to hunger-relief agencies across Ozarks Food Harvest’s 28-county service area. An additional 1.2 million meals were provided to food banks serving counties surrounding Kansas City and northwest Arkansas.
“We were forced to redirect food to our sister food banks because our distribution center has reached capacity,” said Bart Brown, president/CEO of Ozarks Food Harvest. “Thankfully, so many generous donors have stepped up to support the Ending Hunger, Building Hope capital campaign that will double the size of our facility and capacity next year.”
Ozarks Food Harvest’s network of 270 pantries and programs reaches over 261,000 unduplicated children, families and seniors each year. One in five children and one in seven adults in southwest Missouri are food insecure, meaning they are unsure where their next meal will come from.
“With this building addition we’ll be able to close the meal gap, ensuring that none of our neighbors go hungry,” Brown said.
The Food Bank remains committed to increasing the quantity and quality of food it distributes. In fact, fresh produce amounted to more than 20 percent of last fiscal year’s total distribution.
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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 16.4 million meals annually.