Who IS FOOD INSECURE In the Ozarks?
The average Ozarks Food Harvest network client may not be who you’d expect
He or she is most likely white, age 30 to 49, with two to three members in his or her family. These parents have high school diplomas and rent or lease a home. Their annual household income is less than $10,000, making them food insecure each month. They have medical bills to pay and make the hard choice between paying for food or medical care. Sometimes, that choice is between food and utilities. In a typical week, OFH serves 30,000 unduplicated individuals, or more than 10,000 households. That number is 261,300 unduplicated people each year. Across the United States, the Feeding America network of food banks serves 46.5 million people in need.
Ozarks Food Harvest is the Feeding America food bank for southwest Missouri, serving more than 200 hunger-relief organizations across 28 Ozarks counties. The Food Bank reaches nearly 30,000 individuals weekly and distributes more than 16 million pounds of food annually. OFH earned the highest rating possible for the past four years from Charity Navigator, the leading nonprofit corporation that evaluates charities in the United States. The Food Bank has been named the Small Business of the Year by the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce and the Nonprofit of the Year by the Springfield Business Journal. Its facility, the O’Reilly Center for Hunger Relief, has also received “superior” AIB International food safety certifications.
Founded in 1983, Ozarks Food Harvest has a stated mission of Transforming Hunger into Hope. The simple statement serves as a visionary and meaningful summary of Ozarks Food Harvest’s goals, while expressing exactly what it is The Food Bank does. In addition to food distribution and services to 200 Ozarks nonprofits, OFH has direct-service programs such as the Weekend Backpack Program, Mobile Food Pantry, After-School & Summer Food Programs, Senior Food Program and more.