Navigating the new normal
Everyone has been affected by the pandemic in one way or another. Some have lost jobs, others have lost family members and friends. A handful of local businesses have shuttered, and the way we interact socially has changed drastically.
We’re months into the pandemic, and with no clear end in sight, some of these changes have become part of our new normal. My friends at The Food Bank are also navigating these changes when it comes to the supply chain, food distribution methods and day-to-day operations.
The majority of the food Ozarks Food Harvest provides to its 270 hunger-relief partners comes from donated and purchased product and government commodities. Unfortunately, due to closures and layoffs at food manufacturing facilities across the country, both perishable and nonperishable food items have become more expensive for The Food Bank to acquire.
Retail donations make up about 20 percent of The Food Bank’s supply. In the height of the pandemic, grocery store inventories hit rock bottom as customers cleared shelves, and many retailers are still recovering. Donations of produce, dairy, frozen meat and more from these partners have significantly decreased over the past several months.
While the food supply decreased, the demand for food assistance climbed. Thousands of people visited food pantries and drive-through distributions for the first time. Many are still depending on this extra help to put food on the table, months later.
So how is Ozarks Food Harvest navigating these changes? Since March, The Food Bank has received an incredible amount of support from foundations, businesses, corporations and individuals. Generous donations have allowed Ozarks Food Harvest to purchase the food they need and helped provide so many meals to families in need.
It’s critical that The Food Bank continues to receive this support. Since so much of the future is still unknown, Ozarks Food Harvest will continue to lean on the community to help meet the increased need for food assistance. Parents are still out of work. Children still need food when they’re not at school. Seniors are still stuck at home with nothing to eat.
We must come together to provide for the hungry and hurting. Will you consider making a donation to bring hope to someone struggling with food insecurity? When combined with donated product, every dollar donated helps provide $10 worth of groceries. Your donation will change lives and make an impact on so many who continue to be affected by COVID-19.
As we’ve seen time and time again this year, things can change in the blink of an eye. We’re entering the last few months of 2020, and Ozarks Food Harvest must be prepared to meet unexpected challenges—and you can help. If another stay-at-home order is issued, schools close again or unemployment skyrockets, your donation to The Food Bank will help put food on the table for a family in need.
I sincerely thank you for your support as we all grapple with the unpredictable. Because of you, someone will eat today.