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May 2016

Conference brings agencies together


n April, Ozarks Food Harvest’s Member Services department hosted the annual Agency Conference for 200 of its hungerrelief partner organizations. This full-day conference was a great success with a lot of learning and even entertainment from famous singer, song writer and storyteller, Marideth Sisco, an Ozarks native. “I’ve been a long-time fan of Marideth Sisco so it was great to get a chance to meet her and learn from her wisdom,” shared Bonnie Schooler of Least of These in Nixa. “I especially enjoyed the session on Invest An Acre because that’s something I’ve never even heard of before.” The conference was filled with educational sessions that shed light on many of today’s hot topics for agencies. The day also brought together many individuals that play a crucial role in the fight against hunger in the Ozarks. Amy Stallings, director of Jesus was Homeless shared, “My favorite part of the conference was getting to experience all the agencies from our community coming together for the same purpose.” Agencies in Ozarks Food Harvest’s network work hard to ensure people in need in southwest Missouri have food on their tables when they might otherwise go hungry. Food Bank staff appreciate all the agencies that took time out of their busy week to attend the conference. This year, there was a growth in the number of attendees at the Agency Conference and



nearly half of the participants had never been. “It was obvious that a lot of hard work and planning went into this conference,” said Susan Wilbur with Good Samaritan of the Ozarks. “This was my first conference and I was really impressed. Thank you!” Several agencies received awards for outstanding performance in specific areas including: Hickory County C.A.R.E.S., Best Social Media Partner; Senior Age – Marshfield, Best Nutrition Program Partner; Church of Christ, El Dorado Springs, Best Client

Services Award; C-Street Connect at Crimson House, Best SNAP Referral Partner; and the Innovation Award went to Bread of Life, Marshfield. “I think I can speak for everyone who planned this year’s conference and say that it was one of our best yet,” said Mary Zumwalt, director of Member Services and Programs at Ozarks Food Harvest. “It’s also an opportunity for us to personally thank our partners for all the hard work they do on the front lines of fighting hunger every day.”

Crosslines Ministries gets new building Agency Director Spotlight: Meet Donna Wilson Important TEFAP information for agencies Invest An Acre benefits agencies


Joplin pantry brings hope


rosslines Ministries - Joplin has experienced many triumphs and challenges throughout the last five years of its operation — but the pantry’s dedication to help those in need has overpowered all its trials. In May 2011, a devastating tornado struck the Joplin area leaving many homes destroyed. Hundreds of families lost their homes and many lives were lost. Thankfully, many organizations, businesses and individuals from all over the country stepped in to help restore and rebuild the Joplin community. “Every church and every nonprofit, even a lot of businesses in the Joplin area received donations, food, clothing and had financial

assistance available for people in need,” shared Kathy Lewis, executive director of Crosslines Ministries - Joplin. “They were all helping the people of Joplin, so the need for our services initially went down.” Lewis shared that eventually all of those temporary assistance facilities closed and the need for Crosslines’ services surged. The pantry also received countless financial and material donations that it made available to Joplin residents. Many organizations, including Ozarks Food Harvest, also experienced an increase in donations. Two or three times a week, The Food Bank sent semi-trucks to Crosslines to assist with the critical need for food. “Ozarks Food Harvest stepped in and they

were phenomenal,” Lewis said. “We were able to serve a lot more people and give them a lot more food because of that relationship and partnership we have with Ozarks Food Harvest.” Five months later, Crosslines experienced another major spike in its clients when the Salvation Army in Joplin closed its food pantry to focus on homeless individuals. With a steady growth in the number of people needing food assistance, it was clear Crosslines needed more space to accommodate its rising numbers. In April 2015, the pantry sold its 30-year-old building to the city of Joplin. Crosslines has utilized a temporary location that was donated by a supporting church for the past year. The Habitat for Humanity - Joplin also donated a location for the pantry to distribute its TEFAP commodities. “Our biggest struggle has been space. In our old building, our pantry was too small,” Lewis shared. “We were serving over 800 families in the old building. The temporary facility is even smaller.” The new facility is 10,000 square feet including a client-choice pantry, a commodity pantry, large warehouse, thrift store, offices and conference room. “Our crowning achievement is as we move into this building we are going to have a client-choice panty and we look forward to offering that service to our clients,” Lewis said. Even as the need for assistance grew and the pantry faced troubles, it has kept its commitment to helping those in need and that’s one thing Lewis said will never change.

Food Bank sees growth in Summer Food program By the time this newsletter reaches agencies, Ozarks Food Harvest will be in full swing preparing for the 2016 Summer Food program. Ozarks Food Harvest has been a sponsor for this federal reimbursable program since 2002 and has seen considerable growth around the network ever since. As a sponsor, The Food Bank oversees the

management responsibilities of the program including monitoring, training and claim submission on behalf of all participants. This year, we are excited to announce an additional partner. El Do Youth, Inc., located in El Dorado Springs, became a partner of Ozarks Food Harvest in September 2014 through the

After-School program and decided recently to become a part of the Summer Food program. Last year, over 40,000 meals and snacks were provided through the OFH network. With the new addition of El Do Youth, Inc., the total number of sites Ozarks Food Harvest will sponsor this summer rises to 15 among 10 counties.

DID YOU KNOW? Ozarks Food Harvest absorbs the transportation cost to deliver acquired product in order to bring you the lowest product pricing possible to ensure agencies are able to provide more hope to their communities. Since the Agency Conference, The Food Bank has received $4,027 in Invest An Acre donations for member agencies! Read more about this exciting dollar-for-dollar matching program on page four.

TEFAP corner

Quick reminders “And Justice for All” posters If agencies went to the recent Member Services Conference, they learned that the blue posters the State previously sent us were the wrong ones for TEFAP. The blue ones are intended for agencies that provide direct SNAP assistance, so new green posters are one the way! Food Bank staff will make the rounds to personally deliver them to each USDA agency or they will be delivered via your delivery. If you do not receive a poster by June 1, please notify The Food Bank. Make sure the sign is visible to all clients. It is one of the first things The Food Bank or State will look for when conducting a site review. Updated TEFAP forms If agencies attended the conference session “Enemy of the State: Life Before and After a State Audit” they were given new FD15-A forms, along with a new distribution chart. If you did not receive them, they will be hand-delivered or put on your next delivery. Agencies may also pick them up at the office during appointments. Please remember your agency is receiving an amount based on its number of clients.

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

Director Q & A

Donna Wilson


onna Wilson says she strongly believes in the work of the Help Center in Neosho and began volunteering with the pantry when it was founded in 1998. The Help Center started out in a church’s basement in March 1998 and expanded to a new facility nine months later. After a long process of being unable to find the right director for the Help Center, Wilson was asked to step in temporarily until the pantry could find a replacement. After a few months as temporary director, The Help Center made it official in 2002 and Wilson has been the pantry’s permanent director for the past 15 years. Q: What is your biggest achievement? A: Being able to reach out to our community and clients and show them we really care about their needs. We also needed a larger building to work out of which we moved into in March 2014. Q: What has been your biggest challenge? A: We are all volunteers, so always keeping enough help. I feel I wear some of them out at times. Crowder College sends students, also community service and the area churches help, but it is the ones you need every day

you can count on. God has helped us this far and we will be okay! Q: What is the best part of your job? A: Seeing the little children have food and being able to help out their parents also. Q: What is your most memorable moment at the center? A: When we received the walk-in cooler and freezer. Also, when a church youth group went out and bought gloves, hats, socks, mittens and packages for us to give out for Christmas. The look on a little girl’s face when she received her set. There were other children, but she was so overjoyed.

New POL, Primarius Web Window New ordering system debuted at agency conference rolls out June 1 Agencies that attended the Member Services Conference on April 11 may have had the opportunity to learn more about the new online ordering system, Primarius Web Window, at one the breakout sessions. This easy and convenient online ordering system allows agencies to view monthly statements, check invoices and view agency account information. One great feature is the convenience of selecting a pick-up time. This means agencies will no longer have to first call The Food Bank to schedule an appointment before placing an order, however, that also means The Food Bank can no longer schedule appointments four weeks out. Appointments can only be scheduled within two to five business days of

the desired pick-up date. Appointments will be available in thirty minute intervals only. A detailed user-guide of the new online ordering system was recently emailed to all Ozarks Food Harvest agencies and will be posted on our website by next month. If your agency has not received a manual, please request one via email to Member Services at memberservices@ Staff have received positive feedback from the agencies that agreed to test the software. A huge thank you those of you who volunteered to help Ozarks Food Harvest test the new system. While Food Bank staff are still working through some of the kinks, we are confident we are still on target to go live with Primarius Web Window on June 1.


Invest An Acre offers fund matching to agencies Invest An Acre provides agencies with the opportunity for a dollar-for-dollar match to fight rural hunger in their own communities. Donations submitted through Invest An Acre are matched dollar-for-dollar by Monsanto, up to $675,000 through June 30. One hundred percent of the donation — and match — will be applied as a credit to the agency’s Ozarks Food Harvest account to use for acquiring food as needed with no expiration. Is it really that easy? Yes! Within the

program guidelines, most anyone can donate through Invest An Acre to double the impact of the agency’s hunger-relief efforts in its community. One in four people in the Ozarks are served by The Food Bank’s network of agencies. This program directly benefits agencies and the 260,000 children, families and seniors served every year by Ozarks Food Harvest and its network. “I grew up on a farm in rural Newton county and I’ve seen first-hand the struggle of

Good news at The Food Bank Gives Ozarks rallies community

Boy Scouts provide over 27K meals

In 24 hours, Ozarks Food Harvest supporters gave $21,163 to the Weekend Backpack Program, an initiative that strives to feed the one in four area kids who aren’t sure where their next meal will come from. The funds were raised during the second annual Give Ozarks on May 3. Hosted by Community Foundation of the Ozarks, Give Ozarks gave 220 nonprofits the opportunity to participate in the online fundraiser, collecting $1.18 million for local charities. Nearly 250 individuals and businesses donated to Ozarks Food Harvest during Give Ozarks. Twenty-five percent of those were first time donors to The Food Bank!

For 27 years, Boy Scouts in the Ozarks have gathered food for those in need. This year, area Scouts collected the most food and funds in the history of the drive! Nearly 30,000 pounds of food, along with $442 was donated during the annual Scouting for Food drive. The donation will provide 27,000 meals, providing 12,000 more meals compared to last year! Heartfelt thanks to each of the Scouts and their leaders who collected food and funds, as well as the community members who donated. Food Bank staff are already looking forward to next year’s drive!

providing for a family when limited resources are available,” shared Jennifer Sickinger, senior development and communication coordinator at Ozarks Food Harvest. “Invest An Acre offers an easy way for community members to double their donation, providing more meals for their neighbors. All of OFH’s member agencies should take advantage of the dollar-for-dollar match offered through this program.” So far, agencies have raised more than $4,000, which will result in $8,000 in credits on their Ozarks Food Harvest accounts. Congratulations to Ash Grove Food Pantry, SWMOA Buffalo, Hickory County C.A.R.E.S., Crosslines Ministries - Joplin and El Dorado Springs Church of Christ Food Pantry for already taking advantage of this program. The first deadline for donations to be included in the June fund distribution is May 13. The next deadline for September distribution is August 11. Agencies interested in participating should contact Jennifer Sickinger at (417) 865-3411 ext. 110 or email jsickinger@ for an overview or to ask questions about the program.


LOOKING AHEAD... The Food Bank will be closed Monday, May 30 New online ordering process (PWW) fully transitions June 1 CSFP racial/ethnic reports due by May 15

Network News | May 2016  
Network News | May 2016