The Price of Free Delivery

The Price of Free Delivery

July 11, 2022 in Charlie's Corner Harvest Time Newsletter

Ozarks Food Harvest is a big operation. It’s not just a food bank, it’s a hunger-relief network with 270 partner charities, eight direct relief programs, and volunteer gardens to grow fresh produce. Plus, it’s a mass food distribution system that covers 28 counties – over 20,000 square miles – and distributes 70% of the charitable food in the Ozarks.

Each week, drivers travel 6,000 miles to help make sure our neighbors in need are nourished and healthy. Fortunately, The Food Bank has great partners and an efficient process:

1. Food donations are picked up by Ozarks Food Harvest staff, or purchased items are delivered to The Food Bank.
2. Partner charities go to the online system to order.
3. Volunteers inspect the food and sort for distribution.
4. Staff members pull and pack the orders for delivery.
5. The orders are loaded onto trucks.
6. Ozarks Food Harvest drivers deliver the shipment directly to our partner’s doorstep.

All of it is done for free. To help partner charities optimize their resources, Ozarks Food Harvest provides transportation grants that cover the entire cost of their monthly shipment. Some partner charities are farther away and may not have the resources to come pick up their order. Many are staffed entirely with volunteers. In the past year, Ozarks Food Harvest has provided more than $1 million worth of transportation grants to make sure these partners, and their clients, have the food they need.

It’s important to get the food to people where they are instead of asking them to come to The Food Bank. Many agencies rely on Ozarks Food Harvest to deliver 75% of their food. Berniece Robinson, the Volunteer Coordinator and a Director at Shepard’s Nook Food Pantry in Salem, MO, shared that the free delivery helps them immensely. She said they, “use the money they would pay for delivery to buy additional food. We feed between 2,500 and 3,000 people a month, and it’s difficult to find the funding to feed them all. So, the free delivery helps make that possible.”

The cost of transportation is going up, and like every business and household, Ozarks Food Harvest is forced to adjust its budgets to absorb rising fuel prices and inflation. NBC News reported that diesel prices are up 50% from last year, and Feeding America estimates food banks are moving twice as many truckloads of food now compared to before the pandemic. People who have never depended on The Food Bank are turning to us now, after job loss, inflation, and the end of the government COVID-19 relief programs.

Your compassion helps keep these trucks on the road. Please consider making a donation online at Thank you so much for your continued support to help Transform Hunger into Hope for the people in southwest Missouri. Your support makes the difference.