As you gather with loved ones this holiday season to share meals and create memories, consider making an investment in food for others with Ozarks Food Harvest. This act of generosity can make a profound difference in the lives of families facing hunger in the upcoming year. Your gifts will make meals and warm memories possible for our neighbors who need them most.
The Food Bank is bustling with activity to make sure thousands of neighbors can put a holiday meal on the table. This is happening in the midst of an increased demand for food assistance that’s higher than the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this season of giving, year-end gifts will allow The Food Bank to continue giving hope to our neighbors facing hunger.
For the 12th consecutive year, Ozarks Food Harvest has achieved the highest rating of 4 out of 4 possible stars from Charity Navigator, the world’s largest and most trusted nonprofit evaluator. Our recognition is especially meaningful this year because it means I can assure you that during this time of increased childcare, housing and food costs, you’re contributing to one of the most effective hunger-relief charities in the nation.
The need for food assistance is rising, and with increased demand comes increased pressure on the hunger-relief network. Right now, a perfect storm of high food, housing and childcare costs mean more of our neighbors need help to get back on their feet, but keeping up with demand requires creative solutions and change. For Crosslines food pantry in Springfield, their major change is making a big impact on the community.
If you meet Lauren Pyle, you might remember her smile. That’s because Lauren likes to have a smile on her face wherever she goes in the hopes she might put one on someone else’s face, too. Lauren has had a compassionate heart for a long time, and for nearly two years, she’s brought hope to our neighbors facing hunger by volunteering at Ozarks Food Harvest.
John Deere is a company focused on advancing humanity, and Dave Ahlstrand, manager of financial analysis at John Deere Reman, says the best way to do that is to first address basic necessities. “Making sure people have access to food – What’s a higher purpose than that?” he says. “When people can’t eat or feed children, they won’t have the energy to accomplish anything else.”
An important part of aging is staying connected – to people and resources – but for older adults, staying connected is more difficult. If you’re a senior in the Bolivar area, SeniorAge Bolivar is ready to connect you to the food and services you need to thrive at the Polk County Senior Center.
Hunger isn’t always obvious. In children and teens, hunger disguises itself as behavioral issues, dropping grades and isolation. Perhaps no one knows this better than teachers and school staff, who are often the first to identify when students aren’t getting enough to eat at home. Crocker School Pantry coordinator and library aide Jackie Scholfield is all too familiar with the effects of child hunger.
Thanks to supporters like you, Ozarks Food Harvest provided 20 million meals through our network of faith-based and community charities across a third of the state of Missouri in the past year.
Right now, we’re dealing with an emergency. The demand for food assistance in southwest Missouri continues to increase every month to be higher than it was during the peak of the pandemic. In June 2023, The Food Bank’s network of faith-based and community charities served more than 70,000 individuals in a month; that’s nearly 20,000 more than during the height of the COVID crisis.