Regional Meetings Educate & Inform Agency Members
zarks Food Harvest recently completed another round of regional meetings. In February, 40 individuals from 21 different agencies participated in four different meetings throughout the region. Agency staff members and volunteers had the chance to tour the facilities. Several organizations also invited the tour groups to participate in food distributions. This allowed for a better understanding of how different pantries work, and it helped build sweat equity for fellow pantries. The first meeting was held in Marshfield at the Bread of Life Food Pantry. Agency partners helped pack boxes of food for the pantry’s monthly distribution. This project required all hands on deck to get the food packed and ready to go. During a typical week, volunteers from Marshfield High School help put together the boxes. After the packing was finished, agency members went on a tour, observed the drive-through method of food distribution and learned about Bread of Life’s online scheduling app that volunteers and staff use to schedule appointments for clients. Next up, agency members visited the Monett Community Food Pantry. This agency holds a large distribution every Monday as clients shop for the products they need from tables around the room. This project is quite difficult, as it involves many moving parts and a great deal of elbow grease from all of the pantry’s volunteers. Monett Community Food Pantry picks up food from the local Walmart
IN THIS ISSUE
Bread of Life- Marshfield Christian Church Drive-through distribution
three times a week, and it completes a weekly pickup at Ozarks Food Harvest every Monday morning before the distribution. Each week, the pantry sees more than 140 families in under two hours. Next, agency members met in Bolivar to help clients shop the shelves of the Community Outreach Ministries Food Pantry. Fellow pantry partners jumped in to help the regular volunteers as they assisted clients shopping for TEFAP, and they also helped families shop for donations from retail partners Walmart, Woods Supermarket, Kum & Go, Little Caesars and Aldi. The pantry recently expanded its hours to include evenings and weekends to better meet client needs. The last meeting took place in Ozark at the new Least of These pantry location. This
Grant Considerations April is Volunteer Appreciation Month SNAP work requirements Agency Spotlight: Ash Grove Food Pantry
beautiful facility houses a thrift store where clients can shop for free while volunteers gather food that the clients selected through a menu. The pantry also includes a fullyequipped kitchen that offers cooking classes and samples to help clients learn about cooking with different types of food. Least of These is open to clients three days a week and has seen an increase in families since moving to the new building less than a year ago. In November of 2018, Least of These served nearly 1,000 families. Overall, the experience with all four host pantries was extremely positive and everyone enjoyed the opportunity to pitch in and help. It was a great way to experience alternative food distribution styles while enjoying the company of fellow pantry partners and clients.
BUILD YOUR GRANT SEEKING AND GRANT WRITING SKILLS
ne topic that continues to come up with the staff of Ozarks Food Harvest is grants. Agencies are always wanting to know how they can get grants, what grants they qualify for, what are grant requirements, etc. The truth is, there is not an easy “one size fits all” approach to grant writing. Each agency might take on the challenge of grant writing from various angles, but the Development Team at Ozarks Food Harvest came up with four key things to consider when writing grants. We will discuss a few of
the most important tips here, but for a full list of grant writing tips, call or email Member Services. 1. Follow directions – read the entire Request for Proposal (RFP) carefully. • Make sure your request fits their guidelines. • If you have questions, call or email the listed grant contact. • Look for guidelines for an appropriate ask amount. • Follow all character limits and page restrictions.
Be ready to answer the following questions. • Mission statement and current activity. • Community need – use data to describe the need and cite your statistics. • Program Description – tell a complete and compelling story. • Metrics/Outcomes – be optimistic but realistic with projections. • Sustainability – how will you sustain the program beyond the grant period? 3. Maintain a good relationship with funder. • Unless the funder is anonymous, acknowledge them publicly – social media/newsletter/website. • If awarded, make sure to send progress reports. • Keep funders informed by sending your newsletter or short note of impact. • Good relationships could lead to a longterm funder. 4. Last, and most importantly, say THANK YOU!!! • Chances are, you were not the only one competing for the same grant and it goes a long, long way to reach out and say thank you if you are awarded any type of grant, whether it’s a grant from OFH or another grant source. Not saying thank you could potentially affect whether you receive another grant in the future from the funder. You do not need to be the best writer or the best with computer skills (both are common excuses for not applying for grants). All you need is a clear picture of where you want your organization to go and the elbow grease to get there. Happy grant-writing!
April is Volunteer Appreciation Month
his April, Ozarks Food Harvest is celebrating volunteers and the invaluable work they do to provide meals. Last year, volunteers at The Food Bank dedicated nearly 31,000 hours to fighting hunger. They sorted food in the warehouse, packed Weekend Backpacks and Senior Food boxes, harvested food in the garden and more. The important work of bringing food to families facing hunger would be impossible without volunteers. The Food Bank is extremely thankful for their compassion and
commitment! Volunteers also help keep agencies running. Each day, they sort food, make clients feel welcome, pickup food at Ozarks Food Harvest and so much more. Consider honoring your organization’s volunteers and the important work that they do this month. You might want to hold an awards ceremony, bring in special snacks or write personal thank you notes. Even small gestures can bring a smile to a volunteer’s face! We would love to see how you’re making
DID YOU KNOW?
volunteers feel special this April. Send us information about what your agency is doing to celebrate Volunteer Appreciation Month for a chance to be featured in May’s issue of Network News. Stories and photos can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are two new categories in the assorted box section. Assorted Snacks and Assorted Cereal [available in pallet size only] The current value of volunteer time is $23.21/hour
TEFAP corner This is a reminder that all USDA distribution sites should be using the 2019 Income Eligibility Guidelines (FD15A-Part 1), which became effective April 1. Once again, the sign-in sheets (FD15A-Part 2) have remained the same. If you need additional copies please notify The Food Bank as soon as possible. Arrangements can be made to have forms available during a pickup appointment or they can be added to your delivery order. As a reminder, TEFAP is a selfdeclaration program and clients are never to be asked their social security numbers as a means to qualify. The Food Bank never recommends using social security numbers due to the high risk of identity theft. In no case may the inventory level of each TEFAP product exceed a six month supply. Product exceeding this six month window is to be considered non-USDA and should be put into your regular inventory of food pantry items. Please, notify The Food Bank immediately if any USDA product has exceeded the six month limit.
PLEASE DO NOT FREEZE MILK THAT COMES FROM USDA!
CONTACT US Ozarks Food Harvest Member Services 2810 N. Cedarbrook Ave. Springfield, Mo., 65803 memberservices@ ozarksfoodharvest.org (417) 380-5007 ozarksfoodharvest.org
Director Q & A
Suzanne Wilber Q: How long have you been Executive Director at Good Samaritan of the Ozarks (GSO)? A: Since October 1, 2015 Q: How did you get involved there? A: My educational and professional background is in the field of intimate partner violence. My husband, who retired from the Marine Corps in 2017, received orders to the Marine Corps Detachment on Fort Leonard Wood in 2012, which is what brought me to the area. Upon arrival I pursued employment in my field and began work at GSO as an advocate at the ministry’s domestic violence shelter, Genesis. When I was hired as the director in 2015, I came with no experience in food pantry operations. I had a lot to learn about that piece of the ministry!! Q: What part of this job do you personally find most satisfying? A: The ability to meet those immediate emergency needs of individuals with food insecurity and also the opportunity to give them the tools to empower them in their own life so their reliance on our ministry becomes less and less. By receiving grant funding through Wal-Mart several years ago, we were able to purchase a refrigerated truck which allows us to take perishable food to people who are unable to travel to Waynesville. To see their reactions and excitement when they receive fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy, it brings us great satisfaction!
Q: Most challenging? A: Of course funding. Currently our thrift store in Waynesville, which opened to assist with funding Genesis, completely funds our food pantry with little left to assist in funding Genesis, which has the greater financial burden on the ministry. Q: What is your most memorable moment at the pantry? A: I am not able to spend a great deal of time at the pantry due to the size and need of other parts of the ministry., but during holiday food distribution it is always heartwarming to hear the comments of gratitude from our pantry participants. When I am out in the community and meet with and hear stories from people we assisted with services, or family members who have had loved ones receive our services, it confirms to me the importance of this ministry in our community.
SNAP Work Requirements
urrently, proposals from both the Department of Agriculture and the state of Missouri are looking to make work requirements harsher for able-bodied adults without dependents who utilize the SNAP (food stamp) program. The problem with this strategy is that it is short-sighted and not proven to produce the outcomes we all desire – getting people employed and back on their feet. What we should be focused on is how the SNAP program continues to see a drop in participants, without additional regulation, as the economy recovers from the recession. According to the Department of Social Services, the SNAP program in Missouri
had its recent highest average caseload of 441,440 participants in 2012, which was also at the height of the recession. In 2017, the average caseload had fallen to 353,049 participants (a decrease of nearly 20 percent) as the economy improved. The Congressional Budget Office has projected the SNAP program to return to 1995 caseload averages (238,699 individuals in Missouri or a decrease of 32% from 2017) within the next few years. As you can see, further restriction of work requirements is an unnecessary addition to an issue that is already solving itself. Better time would be spent finding ways to employ Missouri’s workforce rather than restricting their ability to get food.
The Ozarks Food Harvest Agency Conference 2019 has been CANCELLED
Agency Spotlight: Ash Grove Food Pantry
The pantry’s volunteers extend compassion and care to every person who comes through the doors, and they make sure everyone gets exactly what they need. “We have one client who lives in a camper trailer in the country…he doesn’t even have running water. We found out he had been getting his drinking water from a creek. We try to give him bottled water every time he comes in now,” Deanna shared. The pantry and its volunteers are celebrating 10 years of service, and Deanna believes they have a strong future ahead. “I would love to see a day when all children never have to suffer food securities again, a time where single parents don’t have to worry about having gas to get to work and being able to put that one more meal on the table and a time when seniors no longer have to choose between food and medicine,” Deanna shared. “But until that time, Ash Grove Food Pantry will continue to do all we can to help.”
Ash Grove Food Pantry
Ash Grove Food Pantry Serves with Compassion and Care
or years, restaurant owner Joan Cotter served leftovers to hungry families at the end of the day. When she made the difficult decision to close her doors, she wanted to make sure struggling families still had food to put on the table at the end of the day. Joan invited local businesses and community leaders to join her in opening Ash Grove’s first food pantry. In May of 2009, Ash Grove Food Pantry held its first food distribution. The pantry began partnering with Ozarks Food Harvest in 2011. “We struggled financially those first two
years, but we kept working at it month by month,” Deanna, Ash Grove Food Pantry’s board president said. “God provided us with one more bag every time we needed it, and here we are ten years later, still going strong.” Ash Grove Food Pantry’s food distribution takes place on the third Saturday of every month and is frequented by individuals from Ash Grove, Bois D’Arc, Willard and Everton. Volunteers also deliver food to seniors and homebound individuals. “It is our privilege to be able to help, even in a small way, we feel our clients get more than just food from us. We want them to know we consider them our friends,” Deanna said.
Good news at The Food Bank Full Circle Garden Open House
Opal Foods makes annual donation
The Third Annual “Full Circle Garden Open House” is planned for Wednesday May 15, 2019 at our home garden in Rogersville. The public is invited to join us for tours and treats anytime between 10am and 6pm. The event is casual and work will be taking place throughout the day as cool season crops are harvested and warm season crops are planted. All ages are welcome to take part in this spring kick-off event. Please contact Alexa Poindexter for more information: (417) 865-3411.
Eggs are frequently-requested items at Ozarks Food Harvest because they contain important nutrients, are easy to cook and can be eaten in a multitude of ways. Thanks to a donation of 280,000 eggs from Opal Foods, a franchisee of Eggland’s Best, families in the Ozarks will receive fresh eggs this spring— just in time for Easter. Since 2008, Opal Foods has donated more than 2.5 million eggs.
Ozarks Food Harvest Home Garden 2835 South Farm Road 227 Rogersville, MO 65742
Ozarks Food Harvest is thankful for Ash Grove Food Pantry and how it serves hungry children, families and seniors in the community.
Holiday food donation
LOOKING AHEAD... Food Bank Closed April 19, 2019 Good Friday Holiday Food Safety Class - Thursday, April 18, 9:00 - 11:00 am Food Bank Closed May 27, 2019 Memorial Day Holiday