Drury student secures Weekend Backpack Program grant
MONETT, Mo.— Thanks to a Drury University student, dozens of local children will continue to receive food from Ozarks Food Harvest over the weekends through The Food Bank’s Weekend Backpack Program.
“When I discovered there were children in need of food right here in my own community, my decision to write a grant for this program was instantaneous. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to contribute to making a difference for children and families in our community,” said Joshua McCaffrey, a senior communication student who wrote a proposal to the Pearl Foundation in his grant writing course at Drury University in Monett this past spring. The class allows students to select foundations to request funding from for their charity of choice.
The $8,333.04 award from the Pearl Foundation was granted to Ozarks Food Harvest last month to help provide food bags to students at Monett Elementary during the 2014–15 school year. An additional $500 donation was also awarded to OFH from the grant writing instructor, Kay Osborne, as McCaffrey’s grant was voted the top ranked among 19 total students.
Monett is one of nearly 50 area schools that benefit from the regional food bank’s Backpack Program, which provides bags full of nutritious, child-friendly food items for the weekends, when children might otherwise go hungry because they do not have access to free school meals or after-school food programs.
This year, OFH will distribute a total of 2,664 bags — or 72 bags weekly — to students at Monett Elementary, Central Park Elementary and Monett Intermediate School. OFH’s Backpack Program has been serving Monett Elementary since 2008 and Central Park Elementary since 2010.
This is not the first gift Ozarks Food Harvest has received from the Pearl Foundation. Since 2006, the Foundation has donated nearly $140,000 to The Food Bank. OFH’s Backpack Program in Monett is sustained by donations from the entire community year-round. The Monett community has fundraised nearly $40,000 over the past two years, making expansion possible last year, providing an additional 24 food bags weekly. The First Christian Church of Monett houses these donations and provides the monetary gifts to The Food Bank.
According to the latest Map the Meal Gap child food insecurity study, one in four children in Barry and Lawrence Counties struggle with hunger and do not always know where their next meal will come from.
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About Ozarks Food Harvest
Ozarks Food Harvest is the Feeding America food bank for southwest Missouri, serving 200 organizations across 28 Ozarks counties. The Food Bank distributes more than 12.5 million meals annually to 170,000 unduplicated individuals. OFH celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2013 and received its second consecutive Four-Star Charity Navigator rating the same year. Learn more at ozarksfoodharvest.org, facebook.com/ozarksfoodharvest or twitter.com/ozksfoodharvest.