Charlie O’Reilly: SGC Foodservice steps up to fund capital campaign
Since the February announcement of the Ending Hunger, Building Hope capital campaign to add 56,000 square feet to our distribution center, many of you have stepped up and made a donation — thank you!
We are thrilled to be so close to breaking ground on this addition that will allow us to better meet the needs of our community.
The amount of food we were forced to turn away or redirect to other food banks amounted to nearly 1.5 million pounds this year, as we do not have the space or the right kind of space to grow our distribution. We’re at capacity, and that means we can’t grow with the growing need.
One generous donor who is supporting this expansion is SGC Foodservice. Founded in 1865, SGC, which you might recognize formerly as Springfield Grocer Company, is Springfield’s oldest surviving continuously operating business, and one of the oldest in the state.
Bart shared with me that since 1995, this family-owned business has been a great supporter both financially and with food donations, including a generous gift for our current capital campaign.
Like my family, SGC and the Tynes family see the impact of a larger distribution center. And they know that being a part of this campaign is a way to make real change for our most vulnerable neighbors. SGC president/CEO Jeff Tynes said that when his family became involved with the mission to solve hunger, he quickly realized just how large the issue is in the Ozarks.
“It’s a big problem seeing food needs go unmet in our community when the resources to help solve the problem are right here in our own backyard,” he shared.
It’s true. Hunger in our community is solvable. We have enough food, volunteers and donors to close the meal gap of 30 million needed meals for our 28-county service area. But our capacity is capped, and today we’re providing just under 16 million meals.
Jeff went on to share with us how he believes that this need is our collective responsibility.
“I feel strongly that we all owe it to our community and our neighbors to make sure that no one has to struggle to provide for this most basic need, it simply doesn’t have to happen. It should not happen here.”
Jeff said that when he learned of the plans to expand Ozarks Food Harvest, there was no question that SGC would play a part. He said, “I know when we support OFH that it’s being used to its greatest effect to solve the problem of hunger in southwest Missouri.”
Every dollar donated to Ozarks Food Harvest, whether for general feeding programs, the capital campaign or the Weekend Backpack Program, is all being used in the most effective way to help our neighbors who struggle with hunger.
Eight-year-old Dylan from Monett shared with Food Bank staff, “I am thankful for the food because I can feed my loved ones and me. When I get hungry I feel like I’m gonna get sick. I don’t have that much food at my house. Thank you so, so much.”
Thanks to compassionate people like the Tynes family and the folks at SGC Foodservice, more kids like Dylan will have something to eat. As we’ve shared with you before, this campaign is about more than simply building a warehouse. This campaign means building a foundation for a hunger-free Ozarks. And that’s something we can all be proud to support.
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.
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