The Fabric of the Hunger Relief Network
Margaret Beem loves weaving. Using hand spinning techniques, she carefully transforms her selected yarns into beautifully designed fabrics. Like the importance of each thread in the weaving process, Margaret has woven herself into an important part of the Ozarks Food Harvest hunger-relief network: Volunteering.
Before retiring, Margaret worked as a librarian in Tucson, Arizona. It was through this position that Margaret discovered the prevalence of food insecurity in her community.
Library staff saw that for many kids, if there was no school, they didn’t eat. This realization prompted the library to start a feeding program for kids outside of school hours through a partnership with the food bank in Tucson. Although she never expected to be preparing food as a librarian, through the success of the program, Margaret began to recognize the importance of hunger-relief efforts.
“When I moved to Springfield, I was interested in volunteering with Ozarks Food Harvest, because I had seen that food banks are an integral part of the community support system,” says Margaret.
Since her start at Ozarks Food Harvest in July of 2021, Margaret has provided 160 hours of invaluable help. In addition to regular Sort & Pack shifts, she has recently begun making calls to assist individuals and families in applying for SNAP benefits, previously known as food stamps.
Margaret’s time with the SNAP program has given her opportunities to see how her work impacts the community firsthand. Many of the people Margaret calls not only hope to qualify for SNAP benefits, they need more immediate food assistance.
Margaret explains, “I frequently talk to people who are down to nothing. Many have never found themselves in that situation before. They don’t know where to turn or what to do.”
Fortunately, using a list of Ozarks Food Harvest’s 270 partner agencies, Margaret is able to direct applicants to nearby food pantries and feeding sites based on their location. Her generously donated time allows our SNAP outreach program to reach more people in southwest Missouri.
Margaret enjoys her time at The Food Bank because she knows the need for hunger-relief in the Ozarks. Volunteering gives her purpose. Being retired, Margaret appreciates that volunteering gives her a schedule and a sense that she is making a difference.
“I keep coming back to Ozarks Food Harvest because I know the need, and it’s a great place. I love the people I volunteer with and the coaches. You walk in the door, and they’re happy to see you. They make you feel welcome,” says Margaret.
Volunteers like Margaret are essential threads in the fabric of the hunger-relief network. Without volunteers, Ozarks Food Harvest couldn’t support its 270 partner agencies across southwest Missouri. Your time makes all the difference. If you are interested in volunteering and want to learn more, visit ozarksfoodharvest.org/volunteer.