Bart Brown: Need still great in the Ozarks

November 12, 2017 in Bart's Hope Notes

For seniors who have worked hard their entire lives to get by, retirement can prove to be an even greater burden.

We recently met Elvin at the Least of These food pantry in Christian County. He worked his entire life and even served as a member of our military. But living on a fixed income and only $60 per month in retirement benefits, he and his wife struggle to have enough food.

“If you run into some doctor bills or different things, it’s a real strain on anyone’s budget,” Elvin shared. “I’ve cut down the portions that I consume from time to time, and I’ll do it again if I have to.”

Elvin is just one of the more than 40,000 seniors that we serve each year through our hunger-relief organizations. Thankfully, your generosity allows him to receive help with groceries each month from the pantry.

“Least of These makes our lives a lot easier because they give us the staples that we need,” Elvin shared. “The struggles are coming less and less. There area lot of things that I’m extremely thankful for. Least of These has encouraged me not to lose faith.”

It’s hard to imagine seniors going hungry and not having enough nutritious food to stay healthy. These folks often begin to face more and more medical complications with age, and a healthy diet is always a recommendation from doctors.

Another especially vulnerable population that we serve is children. They are still growing and require proper nutrition for social, physical and cognitive development. Each year nearly 73,000 children rely on our network for food.

For children and seniors, having nutritious meals every day is absolutely essential for their well-being. We believe it’s up to all of us to make sure they don’t go without food. It’s only with your support that we’re able to feed the Ozarks.

Meeting people like Elvin is the perfect reminder of why we do this work. Elvin was a hard worker and served our country. Now we have a chance to thank him with the simple gift of food.

As you’ve read on the cover, our Weekend Backpack Program is another way your support is helping the community. Since 2003, this program has helped children get the meals they need on Saturdays and Sundays when school meals aren’t available.

In addition to this program, our After-School Food Program and our pantries serve kids and their families.

Eight-year-old Josh wrote us to say thanks: “Now my family never runs out of food. Now I can have food to eat for supper, lunch and breakfast and now my family is happy. Thank you!”

We cannot say thank you enough for your donations of time, food and funds. It’s because of your compassion that kids like Josh and seniors like Elvin won’t go hungry.

Thank you for your continued support in the fight against hunger!

Bart Brown is the president/CEO of Ozarks Food Harvest.