September is Hunger Action Month
Ozarks Food Harvest celebrates 30 years of feeding southwest Missouri
SPRINGFIELD, Mo.— Hunger advocates from Springfield and across the country will be wearing orange this Thursday, Sept. 5 in an effort to raise awareness of the more than 50 million people in the United States who face hunger. It’s just one of the many awareness events taking place throughout the month of September in recognition of Hunger Action Month — a month-long campaign to help end hunger in the U.S.
Ozarks Food Harvest and 200 other Feeding America member food banks are holding events across the country to inspire people to take action to help the millions of people who are food insecure in the United States.
Locally, events include:
- Spud-tacular Volunteer Week through this Saturday, Sept. 7. OFH received 38,000 pounds of fresh red potatoes and needs volunteers to help re-pack the donation into family-size bags for distribution. Open sessions include Thursday (9/5) from 9 a.m. to noon or Wednesday (9/4), Thursday (9/5) or Friday (9/6) from 1 to 4 p.m. One evening/weekend session remains unfilled: Thursday (9/5) 6 to 9 p.m.
- Go Orange Day on Sept. 5 when individuals can wear orange — the symbolic color of hunger — to support hunger awareness in the Ozarks and nationwide.
- Hungerthon on Alice 95.5 is Friday, Sept. 6 through Monday, Sept. 9, when Clear Channel teams up with The Food Bank to help raise money on-air for OFH’s Weekend Backpack Program. This year is the 15th annual radio-thon.
- King’s Way UMC Food Drive at Springfield Dillons stores is Saturday, Sept. 7 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Arvest Bank’s 1 Million Meals campaign invites community members to donate nonperishable food items or cash at any Springfield, Branson or Joplin area Arvest locations, September through November 2.
- Panera Bread’s Second Friday promotion donates a portion of select purchases on Friday, Sept. 13 to OFH’s Weekend Backpack Program. Cafes in Springfield, Branson and Joplin participate.
- OFH at the Farmers Market of the Ozarks is Saturday, Sept. 14. Donate nonperishable food items, local fresh produce or monetary gifts. Orange Missouri “Go Orange for Hunger Action” t-shirts will also be for sale for $10.
- SNAP Challenge Week is Sept. 15–21 when OFH officials are asking advocates to limit their total food purchases to the weekly budget of a typical Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program participant. Learn more at ozarksfoodharvest.org.
- Food Fight is a week-long food drive at area schools, Sept. 16–20. The local school with the highest pounds collected per student will win a traveling trophy and bragging rights. Nonperishable food donations can be sent with students or neighbors during this challenge.
- Ozarks Food Harvest’s 30th “birthday” celebration is from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 28 at the O’Reilly Center for Hunger Relief, 2810 N. Cedarbrook Ave. Mayor Bob Stephens will read a proclamation at 12:30 p.m. The event is family-friendly and open to the public. Lunch is provided and donations of cash or food are suggested.
Ozarks Food Harvest is encouraging individuals age 14 and older to sign up for morning, afternoon, evening or weekend volunteer sessions by going to ozarksfoodharvest.org/volunteer. Community members can also help by lighting up orange, using orange light bulbs to help shed light on the issue of hunger. Or, people can help simply by “liking” Ozarks Food Harvest on Facebook at facebook.com/ozarksfoodharvest & sharing The Food Bank’s “30 Ways in 30 Days” calendar (ozarksfoodharvest.org/HAM13Calendar.pdf) for daily ways to make a difference.
“Whether it’s by advocating and raising awareness, making donations or volunteering, everyone can find a way that’s right for them to make a difference during Hunger Action Month,” said Denise Gibson, Ozarks Food Harvest’s director of development and communication. “September is our opportunity to create a movement that has a real and lasting impact on our mission to ‘transform hunger into hope.’”
The issue of hunger is of particular importance now when 1 in 6 people in the United States are at risk of hunger. Nationally, there are more than 50 million people who struggle with hunger — including 16.7 million children.
In the Ozarks, about 16 percent of the population struggles with hunger, including more than 62,000 children.
“It’s a shame that in the ‘land of plenty’ we have neighbors and friends who have to worry about where they will get their next meal,” said Bob Aiken, CEO of Feeding America. “By raising awareness and working together, we can solve hunger.”
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About Ozarks Food Harvest—The Food Bank
Ozarks Food Harvest is the Feeding America food bank for southwest Missouri, serving more than 200 organizations across 28 Ozarks counties. The Food Bank distributes 10 million meals annually to 170,000 unduplicated individuals. OFH celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2013. Learn more at ozarksfoodharvest.org, facebook.com/ozarksfoodharvest or twitter.com/ozksfoodharvest.
About Feeding America
Feeding America provides low-income individuals and families with the fuel to survive and even thrive. As the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity, our network members supply food to more than 37 million Americans each year, including 14 million children and 3 million seniors. Serving the entire United States, more than 200 member food banks support 61,000 agencies that address hunger in all of its forms. Feeding America also supports programs that improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate. Together we can solve hunger.