As supporters of Ozarks Food Harvest, we know about the urgent and daily needs of the people in our community who struggle with hunger. It’s heartbreaking and oftentimes unimaginable. For those of us who don’t have to make hard choices between paying for food and other basic necessities, understanding what this might feel like can be difficult.
Each year, Americans throw away billions of pounds of food. Up to 40 percent of all food grown, processed and transported in the U.S. will never be consumed.
With one in four people in the Ozarks accessing food assistance, it’s hard to understand how so many people can be hungry, yet so much perfectly edible food is never ending up on dinner plates.
Along with my friends at Ozarks Food Harvest, I want to share how pleased I am to be a part of the Ending Hunger, Building Hope capital campaign. This is an opportunity for important growth to meet the needs of the men, women and children in southwest Missouri who struggle with the harsh reality of hunger.
More than 10 years ago I became involved with the original capital campaign to build Ozarks Food Harvest’s current facility. My family and I realized the great need for a larger food bank with more space to accept and process donations and better equipment to serve the need. With this in mind, my family made a gift to support that critical campaign.
It’s hard to believe another year is almost over. As we reflect on what we’re grateful for throughout this holiday season, I hope that you and your family are blessed with a roof over your head, clothes on your back, food on your plate and the love of family and friends.
You may remember I wrote in last summer’s Harvest Time about the need for a strong Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act to be passed by Congress.
Unfortunately, that legislation has yet to be passed more than a year later, and a new provision added by the House would hurt hungry kids.
Our elected state and federal representatives are making decisions every day that affect our way of life and well-being.
As supporters of Ozarks Food Harvest, I believe it is our responsibility to stand up against proposed changes that would make it harder for our neighbors to get the food assistance they desperately need. Access to food should be a right of all Americans.
I’m sure many of you would agree that the Ozarks is a special place to call home. The willingness to work together to better the community and a genuine concern for others are some of the things I value most.
This fall, a report card highlighting the strengths — blue ribbons — and challenges — red flags — in Springfield and Greene County was released. Although we received many high marks in areas like collaboration, community revitalization and awareness of civic responsibility, poverty continues to be widespread among our neighbors.
According to the report, Springfield recently surpassed St. Louis to become the city in Missouri with the highest percentage of families in poverty.
Since Ozarks Food Harvest moved into its distribution center six years ago, incredible progress has been made in getting more food to people who need it most.
As Bart shared with you this summer, Ozarks Food Harvest is now distributing over 1.1 million meals every month to children, families and seniors in the Ozarks. That’s a record number of meals, and I’m proud to say that the capacity provided by the O’Reilly Center of Hunger Relief has played a big role in allowing distribution to grow.
Food Bank staff share with me that clients’ most requested items are fruits and vegetables, followed by protein items like meat and dairy — donations that require ample cooler and freezer space.
As you may know, dedicated Food Bank staff, volunteers and partner agencies work to distribute nearly 262,000 meals each week to people struggling with hunger in the Ozarks. Thirty percent of those served are children.
It’s hard to imagine, but one in every four children right here in southwest Missouri do not know where their next meal will come from.
I’m writing you today to ask for your help to make sure every child has enough to eat, which is something I believe in strongly and is a big reason why I support The Food Bank.
Greetings from the O’Reilly Center for Hunger Relief! I’m pleased to share with you the good news The Food Bank received last month — for the third consecutive year, Ozarks Food Harvest was awarded the highest possible rating from Charity Navigator.
Only 12 percent of charities in the country have received four star ratings for three consecutive years. This honor comes from the leading nonprofit corporation that evaluates charities across the country.