Meeting increased need in Ozark County

Meeting increased need in Ozark County

July 22, 2021 in Agency Spotlight

The Ozark County Food Pantry has a new facility, which has allowed it to provide nutritious food to even more families and individuals across its service area.

Last year, the pantry moved to a new location with the help of a grant, making it more accessible to people facing food insecurity in Ozark County.

“We are truly blessed with our new facility,” Jennifer Garrison, program coordinator, said. “Our new location is visible now and has better access for our community.”

The pantry has been serving nine towns in its county for nearly 20 years. On the first and second Wednesdays of the month, volunteers work to distribute food boxes to community members. The pantry is proud to provide assistance and a place of empathy.

“We offer food boxes, but compassion and a listening ear are sometimes just as important,” Anita Chappell, agency supervisor, shared.

The Ozark County Food Pantry partners with Ozarks Food Harvest to receive the food that it distributes.

“We would not function well without the help from Ozarks Food Harvest,” Jennifer said. “The Food Bank is truly a blessing to our county.”

During the COVID-19 crisis, the pantry has seen a large increase in the number of families it serves per month and a decrease in volunteers.

“The Ozark County Food Pantry serves 350 families and 600 individuals each month,” Jennifer shared. “Our monthly total has increased by about 100 families since the COVID-19 outbreak.”

Recently, the pantry received a walk-in freezer from The Food Bank.

“With space being limited at our new facility, receiving the walk-in freezer from Ozarks Food Harvest, thanks to Feeding America, made a big impact,” Anita shared. “It has allowed us to receive larger food donations to accommodate the growing need.”

The pantry is experiencing another decline in volunteers as the new variant of the coronavirus is hitting the county hard.

“Once again with reports of the Delta variant on the rise, the number of volunteers has decreased,” Anita explained.

The Ozark County Food Pantry functions with the help of dedicated volunteers.

“The volunteers take time out of their own lives to help us, from receiving food from the Ozarks Food Harvest delivery, preparing the food boxes for distribution, doing all of the participant intake forms to loading all of the vehicles, we are so very blessed for all of their dedication to our pantry,” Jennifer shared.

Going forward, the pantry emphasizes the demand for volunteers as more and more people need support.

“The pantry is always in need of more volunteers and donations of food or donations of money for us to purchase food,” Jennifer said.

We are so grateful for the Ozark County Food Pantry’s partnership. We encourage readers to learn more about its work and consider donating time or food to this organization. For more information, call 417-679-3334.