Support from Walmart allows for member agency growth

October 15, 2018 in Bart's Hope Notes

At Ozarks Food Harvest, we are always looking for opportunities to support our 270 member agencies. This network includes a variety of food pantries, shelters, senior centers and schools across southwest Missouri.

Many of these agencies are completely run by volunteers, and support from Ozarks Food Harvest is essential as they work hard
to provide food for those in need. A variety of generous grants allow us to equip our partners with the tools they need to provide meals for their hungry neighbors. With food insecurity remaining high in the Ozarks, the ability for agencies to distribute more food is critical.

Since 2009, the Walmart Foundation has been a leading supporter of infrastructure grants to Feeding America food banks and their associated member agencies. Walmart and the Walmart Foundation provide donations of both food and funds to the Feeding America nationwide network of 200 food banks.

Ozarks Food Harvest recently received a $50,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation, which allowed The Food Bank to purchase coolers and other equipment for more than 20 agencies.

Ash Grove Senior Center received its new cooler and is now able to accept and distribute more food to hungry families.

“What a difference this cooler has made!” expressed Pat Cook, senior center administrator at Ash Grove Senior Center. “We can now send more food to our homebound seniors, and those who visit have more food to take home.”

Thanks to the Walmart Foundation, Ash Grove Senior Center can provide even more meals to those who require food assistance in southwest Missouri.

For the past nine years, Ozarks Food Harvest has also partnered with the Walmart State Giving Program for Hunger Challenge, a dollar-for-dollar matching grant. It’s an incredible opportunity for our agencies to fundraise in their communities and raise awareness of hunger.

Since 2010, The Food Bank has awarded numerous pass-through grants through gifts totaling nearly one million dollars from Walmart. Ozarks Food Harvest was the first food bank in Missouri to award grants to its partner nonprofits and has been recognized for its efforts. In the last fiscal year, we provided $164,186 in agency grants.

We are so thankful for everything that our partnership with Walmart allows us to provide for our member agencies. Grants allow us to help people like Scott, who needs to put food on the table for his family.

“My wife and I have a 5-month-old son, and she’s the only one working. I have a partial lung collapse that does not allow me to do much. We struggle just to keep food in the house,” he said.

Receiving aid from Ozarks Food Harvest allows Scott to pay his medical bills and rent. “It’s a weight lifted off of me and my family. My wife worries about where we will get the money for diapers or other bills that pop up. Now, food is one less worry,” he shared.

For Scott and more than 164,000 other individuals who face food insecurity in the Ozarks, food pantries, shelters and other agencies are essential to their wellbeing. Without additional help from one of The Food Bank’s member agencies, many of these people would struggle to feed their families on a regular basis.

And, thanks to generous donors like you who make our programs possible, we can continue to decrease the meal gap in the Ozarks.