Warehouse expansion increases meals provided
What a year and a half it’s been at Ozarks Food Harvest! The Food Bank officially started accepting and processing donations in the 56,000 square-foot warehouse expansion last July, and so much progress has been made in the fight against hunger since then.
The $4.8 million project was made possible by donations from individual, corporate and foundation donors and the J.E. & L.E. Mabee Foundation Challenge Grant. I am also proud to report that my family (Rosalie Wooten, Larry and Anya O’Reilly, David and Stacey O’Reilly and Mary Beth and I) made a lead gift for this project. I would like to personally thank all of the donors who contributed to the campaign. Because of you, Ozarks Food Harvest has been able to provide more meals than ever before.
In the year leading up to the warehouse expansion, Ozarks Food Harvest provided 17 million meals to its 270 partners and programs. With the expansion, The Food Bank was able to provide an astounding 18.5 million meals in the last fiscal year!
In just one year, we are 1.5 million meals closer to closing the meal gap. Nearly 30 million meals are needed to do this, and through the new space—in collaboration with charitable and governmental partners—Ozarks Food Harvest has the ability to provide those meals in southwest Missouri.
The expansion has created other opportunities for Ozarks Food Harvest, too. In the last year and a half, five drivers and five warehouse associates have been hired to help manage the increase in space and food received. These employees have been essential in providing more meals in the Ozarks.
With the new space, partnerships with area businesses have also been on the rise. Kum & Go has greatly expanded its partnership efforts with The Food Bank. Last fiscal year, local stores provided 253,120 meals for senior centers, emergency shelters, food pantries and more. The Food Bank was able to designate a driver and purchase a truck that’s used specifically for Kum & Go pickups and drop-offs. We hope to expand more partnerships and develop new ones as we continue to grow.
All of this—the increase in meals, more partnerships and more employees—was made possible by generous donors like you. I cannot thank you enough for your commitment to ending hunger in the Ozarks.
Consider making a gift this holiday season to help The Food Bank provide even more meals in 2020. Your investment will help reduce the amount of food insecure people in southwest Missouri and get us closer to ending hunger for good. Make a donation at ozarksfoodharvest.org/donate or give Bart a call to learn more. Thank you, and happy holidays from my family to yours.