So many of us look forward to summer and make plans to get as much out of the season as possible. For kids in the Ozarks who may face hunger, summer is simply something to get through. Without the meals they receive at school, the days can be long and difficult.
The Food Assistance & Hunger in the Heartland 2021 study gave us important insights about the people we serve in southwest Missouri, but alongside the client demographics, this study provided a comprehensive look at our charitable partners who provide food to our neighbors in need.
Ozarks Food Harvest is a big operation. It’s not just a food bank, it’s a hunger-relief network with 270 partner charities, eight direct relief programs, and volunteer gardens to grow fresh produce. Plus, it’s a mass food distribution system that covers 28 counties – over 20,000 square miles – and distributes 70% of the charitable food in the Ozarks.
Jerod Morey has a front row seat to the complicated world of teenagers and has witnessed how summer hunger, especially for teens, can be a struggle. “They want to be included and accepted, and they want to have a meal in front of them. Not everyone has those things.” Morey said.
Ozarks Senior Center buzzes with life. Every week day you can find activities and events, hot meals and comradery, fellowship and coffee.
Sharon Cook is a problem-solver. Once an engineer and a manager, she has sharpened her analytical skills to a fine point. When facing retirement, she had to decide what to do with her time, and she knew she wanted to give back to her community.
The University of Missouri in partnership with Feeding Missouri conducted a 3-year study, Food Assistance & Hunger in the Heartland 2021 that illustrates the critical role food banks and pantries play in supplying food to families struggling with hunger.
For kids facing hunger, summer vacation can be anything but a break. When 1 in 5 children across the Ozarks face hunger, the days can be full of worry – worry about not having enough to eat.
As you plant your garden or crops this year, you may think about the fresh veggies you’ll harvest, or the satisfaction of bringing in your own food, but do you ever think about our hungry neighbors who don’t have regular access to fresh produce? In the southwest Missouri, 64% of the households we serve purchase the cheapest food even when it’s not the healthiest option. Ozarks Food Harvest needs your help to increase access to nutritious food.
Hope Center of El Dorado Springs is on a non-stop mission to support people in Cedar County. Though they’ve only been open for 2 years, they’ve already made a lifetime of changes in their community.