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January 2016

Agencies make New Year’s resolutions


s 2015 came to an end, several agencies in Ozarks Food Harvest’s network have set high goals for the new year. Ash Grove Food Pantry This past year had some triumphs and challenges for the Ash Grove Food Pantry. It received two grants, one from the Musgrave Foundation and the other from the Greene County Senior Services Fund. But the pantry also experienced the deaths of two board members: Viv West and Joan Cotter. Pantry president Deanna Monnig said Cotter and West were driving forces behind the pantry. “The best way for us to show our love and appreciation for these two wonderful friends is to work harder and make our pantry bigger and better,” Monnig said. In the new year, the Ash Grove pantry plans to add a kitchen. It has already purchased a sink, stove and ice maker, and is currently working with construction companies to get the kitchen up and running in early 2016. “With our kitchen, not only can we have future fundraisers right in our building, but we also hope to teach some of our clients how to cook with the food they receive from the pantry,” Monnig said. The pantry also wants to connect its seniors with the community’s young people. Monnig said, “I think we can make 2016 even better than any of our past years.” Hickory County C.A.R.E.S. In this new year, Hickory County C.A.R.E.S.


plans to better meet the needs of Hickory County residents by participating in local activities, expanding the services offered and pursuing more fundraising opportunities. The pantry will offer residents food pick-up three SPECIAL THANKS TO ALL OF OZARKS FOOD HARVEST’S HUNGER-RELIEF ORGANIZATIONS FOR YOUR HARD WORK AND DEDICATION IN 2015. TOGETHER WE days a week and CAN MAKE 2016 EVEN BETTER AND BRIGHTER FOR OUR NEIGHBORS IN NEED. personal hygiene products twice a year. “We also look forward to creating a campus Hickory County C.A.R.E.S. has set a goal to for employment training, after-school raise $10,000 on Give Ozarks Day, May 3, and programming for kids and a work voucher plans to utilize all grant opportunities in 2016. system where folks can work a few hours then Finally, by improving the Hickory County redeem vouchers for needed services such C.A.R.E.S. website and Facebook page, the as clothing, food and laundry,” Community pantry hopes to improve public awareness of Relations Manager Ashley Lauer shared. the services it offers to the community and Marshfield Senior Center the needs of its clients. For five years, the Marshfield Senior Center Jesus Was Homeless has worked toward moving into a new home. In 2016, Jesus Was Homeless plans to It has resolved that this will be the year it continue its mission of transforming lives into begins construction. a new way of living by delivering 1,200 sack Director Chris Parker said, “This will allow us meals to homeless individuals in the Branson to reach more seniors, expand our programs community. and better serve our people. We are looking Through the meals, Jesus Was Homeless is forward to leaving our old home for a new able to build relationships and connect clients one — and taking our community partners with support services. like Ozarks Food Harvest with us.”

Senior centers give extra this Christmas Agency Director Spotlight: Meet Chris Parker Help Center raises funds for new building TEFAP guidelines for agencies


Seniors find joy at Christmas The holiday season is a difficult time for many seniors throughout the Ozarks. Too often they spend the season alone because they do not have family to celebrate with. Thankfully, many of Ozarks Food Harvest’s partnering senior centers planned special activities throughout the holidays to ensure their clients felt loved and appreciated. During the Christmas season, the Alton Senior Center created about 30 Bags of Love for area homebound seniors. Senior Center Administrator Sandy McCasland hand delivered the bags filled with groceries to each recipient. “Christmas and Thanksgiving are our favorite time of the year because it allows us to give back to some of the seniors and

provide things they don’t normally get,” McCasland shared. The Christmas bags were donated by the Harps Food Store in Alton. The local grocer also donated $1,000 in gift cards for the senior center to purchase any needed items. The staff took time making cookies, candy and bread for a dinner held at the senior center. “We wanted to let them know we care by holding a big Christmas dinner,” McCasland said. “This dinner had giveaways of the homemade goodies.” McCasland received several thank you cards and phone calls from the homebound seniors. “They were very appreciative,” she shared. “These people have nothing and if it wasn’t for this program they wouldn’t have

any extra during the holiday season.” The Nixa Senior Center also found a way to show its clients they were loved this holiday season by holding a Christmas dinner that served 97 seniors. Attendees received a home-cooked meal prepared by the senior center’s staff and volunteers, enjoyed live Christmas music and each senior received a bag of treats. For Sam, 70, this dinner meant everything because he does not have a family at home anymore. Shortly after the dinner he shared, “It wasn’t just a dinner, it was a fellowship with all the people, rejoicing the fact that we were together.” Most of the seniors visit the senior center daily for lunch, but this Christmas dinner was special because it gave them a place to celebrate the holiday with their friends. “A lot of them don’t have family anymore so it’s very important for us to remember them,” Senior Center Administrator Melissa Andrews said. “They all had a lot of fun and Santa even paid us a visit.” Thanks to all of Ozarks Food Harvest’s hunger-relief organizations for making this holiday season special for those in need.


Be careful during inclement weather conditions It’s that time of year when inclement weather conditions sometimes throws us a curve ball! We will make every attempt to safely provide our services and to contact everyone in a timely manner regarding any changes in delivery or pick-up appointments. During these times it is necessary for us to assess the safety of our delivery team and

our delivery fleet, while carefully providing continued service. As a general rule, if Springfield Public Schools close due to inclement weather, scheduled pick-up appointments will be cancelled; however, The Food Bank will remain open and delivery routes will run as scheduled. It may be necessary, at

times, to close The Food Bank and cancel appointments and deliveries. If this occurs, The Food Bank will contact you regarding your make-up appointment or delivery. Also, please make sure The Food Bank has updated phone numbers of all staff members who are responsible for receiving deliveries. It may be necessary for us to contact you at home.

DID YOU KNOW? The IRS code for 501(c)(3) organizations prohibits agencies from using donated products for fundraising events or prizes. Ten new agencies joined the OFH network and 20 agencies hired new directors in 2015. Out of 80 pantries in the OFH network, 18 are open Monday through Friday. Thrive Market offers all Feeding America partners a free membership to its online shopping club. Visit to sign-up for discounts on organic foods and products.

TEFAP corner

Friendly reminders As a reminder, under TEFAP guidelines, agencies must: Allow eligible households to receive TEFAP/USDA foods once per calendar month. Allow for proxy pick-up or provide delivery of the TEFAP/USDA foods. Allow recipients to refuse any amount of any of the foods offered. Participants must be given the opportunity to check their bag or box before leaving the site. Distribute non-USDA donated foods with TEFAP/USDA foods to the maximum extent possible. Retain all records related to TEFAP for three years. Post a sign at the site that: Identifies it as a food pantry Shows the days and hours of TEFAP distribution Lists a telephone number for emergency situations when the site is not open

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

Director Q & A

Chris Parker


hris Parker started volunteering at the Marshfield Senior Center 30 years ago. When she heard about the opening for a full-time position, she quickly applied. Parker has been the director of the Marshfield Senior Center, partially funded by the Southwest Missouri Office on Aging, for five years. Q: What sparked your interest to work at SWMOA? A: I like working with the seniors. They have such great stories because they have seen and done so much. It is a pleasure to be a part of their lives. Q: What is your biggest achievement? A: Building up the number of people we serve. When I started we ran one hot meal route a day. We now have three and serve about 60 homebound seniors in addition to the number of congregate meals we serve. Q: Have you faced any challenges during your time at SWMOA? A: Getting a new building for our senior center. I was on the job one month when I discovered we would have to move so a new jail could be built at our current location. The best part of the last five years has been spent working toward a new building. We have about $850,000 now and should start building soon.

Q: What is the best part about your job? A: Putting smiles on the faces of my seniors! I love finding ways to help them. Q: What is your most memorable moment at the center? A: One day our cook was on her own in the kitchen — no volunteers. So I put on my hair net and got to work making cornbread. When I turned on our big commercial mixer, I accidentally hit a measuring cup and it fell into the mix. The blades sent it spinning into the air — cornbread mix with it. I was dripping cornbread mix and it was splattered all over the walls and floor. As I wiped it off my shirt, I said, “What else can go wrong today?” My cook nodded her head behind me — there stood our health inspector who had come for our health inspection!

Marideth Sisco annouced as 2016 speaker Noted singer and storyteller to address Food Bank agencies at annual conference The Food Bank is excited to announce this year’s agency conference speaker as renowned storyteller, singer and local celebrity Marideth Sisco! Many of you may know Sisco from the movie “Winter’s Bone.” Her style of folk and mountain music inspired the filmmakers to hire Sisco as a consultant on the film, where she was also cast in a singing role.


Sisco makes her home in southern Missouri where she continues to write stories, play music and appear monthly on National Public Radio in KSMU’s “These Ozarks Hills”. We look forward to Sisco sharing her songs and stories at our conference and know you’ll walk away not only entertained, but also inspired!

The Ozarks Food Harvest Agency Conference is April 11, 2016 at the Ramada Oasis Convention Center.


Thrift store provides funds for new building When area residents enter the front doors of the United Community Help Center in Licking, they are greeted by a large thrift store stocked with furniture, household items and clothes at extremely low prices. Without the thrift store and a gracious volunteer-based staff, the Help Center would not be possible. The thrift store provides all the funding needed to give emergency assistance to families and to provide commodities from Ozarks Food Harvest. Donnetta James, director of the Help Center

in Texas County, said that on a busy day the thrift store could see 70 people and make a $700 profit: “That’s from selling T-shirts for $1 and a few pairs of shoes for $2.” As a volunteer for five years, James saw the Help Center go through a dramatic increase in building size. “Before the new center, we operated out of a tiny store,” James shared. “The only coolers we had were small refrigerators that were donated to us.” After three years of hard work, the Help

Good news at The Food Bank Gunn joins Member Services team

Land O’Lakes makes large donation

After four years of working in the volunteer sorting room as a Volunteer Coach, Casey Gunn has joined the Member Services team as the Retail Compliance Specialist. Gunn began her new position this past September and is working closely with agencies involved with Ozarks Food Harvest’s Retail Pick-Up Program. She is anxious to help with any questions you might have, as well as be your greatest resource for food safety questions, comments and concerns. Gunn has a great understanding of the donation process. “I look forward to transitioning into this new position and getting to see things from both sides of the process,” Gunn said.

Land O’Lakes, Inc. donated 36,000 pounds of cheese to Ozarks Food Harvest in December. This donation provides 30,000 meals to support area food pantries. This is the Land O’Lakes First Run Program’s 92nd donation since this giving program was established in 2010. “As a national, farmer-owned cooperative, Land O’Lakes is committed to help the growing number of people who struggle to put food on their table,” said Land O’Lakes Foundation Executive Director Lydia Botham. “The First Run program provides a unique opportunity for Land O’Lakes to provide a fresh, nutritious product for families to enjoy.”

Center’s new building was completed in phases — thanks to the funds raised from items sold at the thrift store. The new building contains walk-in freezers and coolers that provide ample area for food to stay fresh longer and sorting rooms allow volunteers to process donations away from the busy thrift store. Each month, about 450 individuals visit the Help Center to receive commodities from the food pantry. It also provides assistance to individuals in times of crisis. “A young girl who had nowhere to go came to the center and said she had not eaten in three days,” James recalled about a memorable client interaction. The Help Center provided her with food, clothing and money for gas to get to a place that offers housing assistance. “People just don’t realize all the help this little center provides to Licking,” James said. “The new building has meant so much to us.”


LOOKING AHEAD... The next food safety class will be held March 18, 2016. Civil Rights training is coming up in the month of February. Hunger Challenge 6 funds are due by March 1, 2016.

Network News | January 2016  
Network News | January 2016