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January 2015

Charity Tracker helps agencies track clients, create reports collaborative group, Community Partnership of the Ozarks, to focus on aligning services in Greene County. The group has agreed to use Charity Tracker to better utilize resources. Least of These food pantry in Nixa has been using Charity Tracker for one year. The software has allowed the agency to discover when a client may be using the Christian County pantry in addition to a pantry in Greene County in the same month.

“It’s nice that we’ve been able to connect with the people who have been doubling up.” -Susan Kendrick, Least of These director



ince The Food Bank launched Charity Tracker, 23 Ozarks Food Harvest member agencies have taken advantage of the online database software. Another three agencies are working toward signing up. The database is not restricted to OFH agencies. The Food Bank has also helped a non-member agency — Immaculate Conception food pantry in Springfield — get


on the system. Charity Tracker not only allows agencies to communicate more easily, it is a secure web application for shared case management used to gather and report statistical data for resource development, strategic planning, measuring outcomes, reducing duplication and disaster relief. Food Bank staff is working with a

“We sit down and explain that they cannot do that,” said Susan Kendrick, Least of These director. “It’s nice that we’ve been able to connect with the people who have been doubling up.” The reports available through Charity Tracker have also allowed agencies to have easy access to data that can be used for grant applications, board reports and more. Let Ozarks Food Harvest show you how Charity Tracker could work for your agency. To learn more about the Charity Tracker system, contact Terra Lamb at (417) 865-3411, ext. 125 or

Time to plan for Weekend Backpacks Glean Teams turn gardens into dinner SNAP can help families and agencies Check out what’s new on OFH’s online menu

Glean Team helps harvest fresh food


Ending hunger on the weekends


uring the 2014-15 school year, the Weekend Backpack Program is serving students in 22 Springfield public schools, and the program is serving another 24 rural schools. Springfield schools, including early childhood programs, distribute 870 bags each week — 114 more than were distributed last year — which means more than 32,000 backpacks will go home this school year. The rural schools receive 612 bags each week — 60 more than last year. That’s nearly 23,000 distributed annually. That means the total number of backpacks distributed will be 55,000 — providing nearly 330,000 meals. That will fill a lot of hungry tummies. “The food is helping me because my dad

is working as much as he can, but it isn’t enough,” a fourth-grader wrote. “This is why we need help from you.” OFH’s Backpack Coordinator starts planning for the next year’s program in the spring by doing an assessment of all schools in The Food Bank’s 28-county service area. Need, funding sources and commitment are important elements OFH considers. While the annual radio-thon on Alice 95.5, Hungerthon, raises more than $100,000 for the Weekend Backpack Program each year, OFH spends more than $500,000 on the program annually. To learn more about starting OFH’s Weekend Backpack Program in your school, contact Abbey Hedges at (417) 865-3411, ext. 134 or

The Ozarks Food Harvest Glean Team is a group of volunteers working together to rescue fresh produce from area farms, gardens and orchards for donation to those in need. During abundant production season, thousands of pounds of food goes to waste when there aren’t enough hands to harvest. The Glean Team helps solve this problem while feeding those in need. Since the team’s first glean in June, nearly 20,000 pounds of produce have been harvested in Greene County and distributed to agencies in Springfield, as well as outlying counties. Whether you are urban or rural, near or far, big or small, your agency can take advantage of a Glean Team. If you would like to start a Glean Team in your area, contact Christy Claybaker at or (417) 865-3411, ext. 120 to schedule a time to customize a plan specific to your county, community organizations and agency needs.


DID YOU KNOW? Local and regional producers, growers, distributors and retailers donate half of the food that comes into The Food Bank, about 8 million pounds. OFH is a member of Feeding America, which facilitates national food donations. The Food Bank provides recipe cards to help families learn ways to prepare food that may be unfamiliar to them. One in four children in the Ozarks is considered food insecure, meaning many would go to bed hungry without the assistance OFH partners provide.

QUICK FACTS Approximately 3,000 volunteers make sure product moves through OFH’s warehouse. Without them, more than eight full-time employees would be needed to replace the work they do. The freezer and cooler unit in the O’Reilly Center for Hunger Relief is the same square footage as The Food Bank’s entire former facility. Ozarks Food Harvest’s warehouse, which was completed in 2009, uses “green” technology wherever possible. A heat exchanger reclaims the heat removed from the cooler/freezer and will heat the warehouse during cold months. Ozarks Food Harvest was founded in 1983, when a total of 90,000 pounds of food was distributed to 22 charities. This past year, distribution reached more than 15 million pounds for more than 200 agencies and programs.

CONTACT US Ozarks Food Harvest Member Services 2810 N. Cedarbrook Ave. Springfield, Mo., 65803 memberservices@ (417) 380-5007


Feeding families may be a SNAP


zarks Food Harvest puts a major emphasis on conducting SNAP outreach in its service area to give food insecure individuals access to a dedicated food program. SNAP, or food stamps, is the largest domestic hunger program in the United States, providing nutrition assistance to an estimated 47 million eligible, low-income individuals. SNAP benefits give clients a consistent means of food assistance each month and allows them to purchase food specific to their dietary needs. As one client descibed SNAP for her household, “It will feed us and our children so I won’t have to worry as much about how I’m going to take care of my two little kids.” If more of your clients receive SNAP benefits, you may see fewer visits from

those individuals. This allows your agency to provide more resources to those in need of emergency food assistance, including those who may not qualify for government assistance. When applications that were referred by your agency are approved, the SNAP benefits received will be added to your total meals distributed at the end of the year. All agencies need to do is ask clients if they are interested in SNAP benefits and if they need help applying. Provide their contact information to the OFH SNAP coordinator, and he will follow up to get the application process started and answer any questions. If an agency is interested in becoming a SNAP ambassador for OFH, contact Jordan Browning (417) 865-3411, ext. 129 or at

Online menu has a lot to offer Have you looked at the Agency Ordering Menu lately? You might be surprised! There are added items and features, expanded options and even more products, all with agency needs in mind. Here are some recently added features that you might not know about: The online menu features a special discounted item each and every month. Laundry soap, paper towels and toilet paper are now available to order online.

There are now 20 different product categories containing more than 70 different items from which to choose. Almost every item on the menu has a picture with product details available at a simple click of your mouse. Keep checking the menu. There are new items being added almost every month. To “shop,” go to, click on Agency Login and find the Ordering Menu to view all that is available.


Solar panel donation gives lasting savings for pantry ‘The gift that gives every time to sun shines’


hen Missouri Sun Solar installed a five-kilowatt solar panel system on the roof of the Texas County Food Pantry’s building in August, the donation resulted in a monthly savings of about $50 on the pantry’s utility bill. Then Missouri Sun Solar outdid its original donation by offering a free panel to the pantry for every panel purchased within a 60mile radius of Houston between September and December. Soon, another 20 panels will be catching rays on the pantry’s roof — and the bill should drop by another $50. One hundred dollars a month in savings can

mean a lot to the approximately 750 families and seniors who turn to the pantry for food, rent and utilities assistance, and other homelessness prevention efforts, help with prescription medications, job counseling and family support. “All that could go back to assistance to our families,” said Bennie Cook, executive director of the pantry in Houston. The solar panels were an unexpected blessing. “Out of the blue, Caleb (Arthur, CEO of Missouri Sun Solar) calls,” said Cook. “He wanted a way to give back to the community.” Cook and Arthur have been friends for years, both working with the Texas County Sheriff’s Office. “Picking The Texas County Food Pantry Inc. was simple for me,” said Arthur. “The future of

Paula Deen supports Joplin agency When celebrity chef Paula Deen stopped in at Lafayette House in Joplin in May, she encouraged staff and clients at the domestic violence center and made a generous $5,000 donation. Deen was in the area doing an event at nearby Downstream Casino PAULA DEEN in Miami, Oklahoma. It was no coincidence that Deen showed her support for Lafayette House. It was the

result of a connection with a supporter who was able to let the chef, author, restauranteur and TV cooking show host know about the great work done at the center. Amy Lane, development coordinator at Lafayette House, said Deen “has a heart for helping women,” in part because of her own experience with domestic violence. Lane said, “We hope it’s a relationship that we’ll keep, and that we will be able to see her more.” Developing those connections and getting the word out about the work an agency does is an important way to build support, even from celebrities, Lane said.

our nation are children. Those children that are hungry or have nothing deserve more. “Local food [pantries] have to operate off of limited budgets and need the local communities’ help. If I can eliminate the food pantries electric bill, it will allow them more money in the budget to help even more children. It’s the gift that gives every time to sun shines!” Texas County may be the only food pantry with a solar panel system in the country, but it is not the only food pantry to take advantage of community resources and generosity. Cook pointed out that the solar panels, as well as other support have often come out of a willingness to work with the community, partner with other organizations and take a few risks.

LOOKING AHEAD... Annual Civil Rights training begins Feb. 1 Food Safety classes, March 20 New OFH website coming soon!

Network News, January 2015  
Network News, January 2015