Charlie O’Reilly: Zone Blitz Brings Positive Change

July 6, 2018 in Charlie's Corner

Hello again from the O’Reilly Center for Hunger Relief!

Nearly two years have passed since the Zone 1 Blitz began in northwest Springfield. During the blitz, over 300 organizations— including Ozarks Food Harvest—committed to help improve the lives of residents in the northwest quadrant of Springfield. Projects included weatherization upgrades for homes, new sidewalk construction, bus stop additions, an expansion of affordable internet access and an increase to food access across Zone 1.

Since 2015, food access in Greene County has increased by 73 percent. And through 11 food pantries in Zones 1 and 2, 5 million meals—nearly $8 million worth of food— were distributed by Ozarks Food Harvest. The Food Bank also distributed 512,100 meals to Springfield Public Schools through the backpack program over the past two years. All of Ozarks Food Harvest’s programs are ongoing and slated for strategic growth both in Zone 1 and across Springfield.

Hunger and poverty go hand in hand, and solving the issue is an important subject to tackle if we want to build a better Springfield. Although many Zone 1 residents hold steady jobs and work hard to support their families, they still have trouble putting food on the table. Ozarks Food Harvest joined forces with community partners including Community Foundation of the Ozarks, the Northwest Project and others to address these root causes of poverty.

Emily, a 5th grader in Greene County, knows what it’s like to feel hungry and is grateful for how Ozarks Food Harvest provides for her family. “My dad’s money from work goes to bills, and the food bags give my family food for each week. I’m thankful for the food bags.”
There are many families just like Emily’s all across Springfield. But with Ozarks Food Harvest, they can rest assured that they will get the food they need.

As a supporter of The Food Bank and member of this community, I believe in the hard work that Ozarks Food Harvest is doing to feed our neighbors in need and better the community.

Without the food pantries located in Zone 1, thousands of people in northwest Springfield would have gone to bed hungry over the past two years.
I encourage you to learn more about how the Zone 1 Blitz is improving the lives of families across the community. It’s amazing to see how people are joining together to make this happen. By supporting Ozarks Food Harvest, you can help hungry people living in northwest Springfield—and across the 28 counties The Food Bank serves.

I believe that if we all come together and offer what we have—whether it’s our time, our money, our services or something else— that we can create a better community.

Charlie O’Reilly is the vice-chair of O’Reilly Automotive’s Board of Directors, a hunger-relief advocate and supporter of Ozarks Food Harvest.

Denise Gibson: 2018 Hunger Action Month

July 5, 2018 in From Denise's Desk

Hunger Action Month will be here before we know it! We have so many events and activities planned to engage the community in the fight against hunger this September.

Throughout the month, Ozarks Food Harvest and other hunger-relief organizations across the country will shed light on food insecurity and how the community can help.

Read More

Raising Awareness of Summer Hunger

July 3, 2018 in Bart's Hope Notes

For many kids in the Ozarks, summer is full of worry about an empty refrigerator or pantry.

According to the latest Map the Meal Gap data from Feeding America, 19.6 percent of children in southwest Missouri are food insecure. That amounts to 50,590 kids under the age of 18 that might not know where their next meal will come from.
Many of these children rely on free or reduced-price meals at school throughout the year. But when school closes for the summer, fear and hunger can set in.

Read More

Empty Bowls 2018

Empty Bowls 2018

June 4, 2018 in Get Involved

Join us for the fifth annual Empty Bowls event! Ozarks Food Harvest and Panera Bread are raising awareness of hunger while supporting The Food Bank’s feeding programs. To participate, stop by Panera on Sept. 28 to make a donation and receive a ceramic or wooden bowl handcrafted by a local artist as well as a meal of soup and bread.

The empty bowls serve as a reminder of those struggling with hunger in southwest Missouri. All the money raised from this year’s event will support children, families and seniors in need.


Artists: Pledge your bowls

Artists: Empty Bowls 2018 is Coming

May 29, 2018 in Get Involved

Ozarks Food Harvest is partnering with Panera Bread for Empty Bowls 2018. The annual event, set for Sept. 28, raises awareness of hunger in southwest Missouri.

With a donation to OFH, event-goers will receive a bowl of soup, a baguette and a handcrafted empty bowl to take home. The creations, ranging from pottery to carved wood, serve as a reminder of the thousands of “empty bowls” found on dinner tables across the Ozarks each night.

This event could not be successful without the help from community artists who are willing to donate bowls. All funds raised at Empty Bowls go directly to feeding families in the Ozarks. Can you help make the event a success this year?

Register a bowl donation by submitting your pledge by Aug. 31, 2018.

For questions, contact Community Engagement Coordinator Thomas Cunningham, or call (417) 865-3411, ext. 137. We would be happy to schedule a pickup!

Stamp Out Hunger Collects 250,000 pounds

Stamp Out Hunger Collects 250,000 pounds

May 22, 2018 in Donation drive

On Saturday, May 12, people in the Ozarks came together to help Stamp out Hunger. To participate, residents placed bags of nonperishable food items near their mailboxes. Throughout the day, letter carriers picked up the bags, organized products and delivered food to Ozarks Food Harvest’s food pantries.
Read More