My dad was a bricklayer, and mom worked front desk jobs. She came home every night to make us dinner and there was always food. I had never been poor or gone without until I found myself in need, in my late 20’s. It opened my eyes to a lot; particularly to something I had never seen.
When my husband Dave returned to school to get his Ph.D. in Physics, back in Arizona, we had three boys. After we had our third child, we were needing more funds. We had food stamps, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), program benefits, and medical assistance due to our low income. Those were a big help, and when we ran out of them, my husband’s parents helped us on a regular basis.
Ozarks Food Harvest’s Glean Team began its third season on March 2 with volunteers preparing garden beds for crops at local community gardens.
Last season, volunteers gave over 1,400 hours planting and harvesting at area gardens and farms to provide nearly 23,000 pounds of fresh produce to children, families and seniors in need right here in the Ozarks.
Barbara Long began her journey with Nevada Community Outreach in 2001 as a volunteer board member. During her time as board president, the pantry’s longtime director resigned and Long was tasked with finding the pantry’s new director.
Her tiresome search lasted over a year — involving two new directors that did not remain in the position. Long had always wanted to attempt being the director, but felt overwhelmed because her mom was battling cancer.
Before Calvary Chapel secured a new building for its food pantry, it was common to see people from nearly 300 households waiting in line outside the church to receive commodities.
The church located in Buffalo, Missouri, began its food pantry in 2011 with the expectation of serving 100 to 150 households at each monthly distribution. Within the first few months of operation, Calvary Chapel saw those numbers climb drastically.
Chris Parker started volunteering at the Marshfield Senior Center 30 years ago. When she heard about the opening for a full-time position, she quickly applied. Parker has been the director of the Marshfield Senior Center, partially funded by the Southwest Missouri Office on Aging, for five years.
Q: What sparked your interest to work at SWMOA?
A: I like working with the seniors. They have such great stories because they have seen and done so much. It is a pleasure to be a part of their lives.
When area residents enter the front doors of the United Community Help Center in Licking, they are greeted by a large thrift store stocked with furniture, household items and clothes at extremely low prices.
Without the thrift store and a gracious volunteer-based staff, the Help Center would not be possible. The thrift store provides all the funding needed to give emergency assistance to families and to provide commodities from Ozarks Food Harvest.
Teressa Faber has worked as the emergency resource manager for the Good Samaritan of the Ozarks in Richland for over eight years. The pantry, which also has a thrift store, serves about 240 families commodities and 400 families bread and produce each month. In the first 10 months of 2015, the pantry served over 18,000 people.
Q: How did you become involved in the pantry?
A: I applied for a part-time cashier position with the Good Samaritan thrift store because I recognized that this organization was sincere about trying to help others. However, I was hired for the manager position and when that happened, I felt that God was directing me and had something he wanted me to do here.Read More
Each month when clients visit the Helping Hands Community Food Pantry, they are given the valuable opportunity to make choices about the food they take home.
Founded in 2009, Helping Hands is a client-choice pantry located in Barry County, where 14.5 percent of the population is food insecure. Its philosophy is to offer clients choices when it comes to food.