NETWORK NEWS An internal newsletter for Ozarks Food Harvest member agencies
Thank you for caring for hungry neighbors through this time of continual change.
THANKS FOR CARING FOR THE COMMUNITY Hello from the Member Services team at Ozarks Food Harvest! We know the last few months have been incredibly challenging as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to change on a daily basis, but we wanted to take a moment to thank you. Because of you, thousands of people in the Ozarks are getting the help they need to put food on the table. You are serving the most vulnerable friends and neighbors in our community: seniors who need some extra help, parents who have lost their jobs and children who no longer have access to the daily school meals they rely on. Thank you for keeping your doors open. Thank you for adapting to keep your staff, volunteers and clients safe. Thank you for caring so deeply for our community. More people than ever are in search of food assistance. Many of them have never had to visit a food pantry or ask for help before. Thank you for helping them feel comfortable and cared for during such a chaotic time.
We also want to thank you for putting safety first. Drive-through distributions and contactless meal pickups are keeping families across southwest Missouri fed. We know change can be hard, especially in the midst of the unknown, so we greatly appreciate your commitment to keep everyone as safe as possible. The next few months are likely to bring even more change and uncertainty, but we are here to support you and the hungry neighbors you serve. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us through our member services hotline at 417-380-5007. We are happy to answer any questions and help you navigate through this journey! Thank you for taking care of the hungry and hurting. Together, we are Transforming Hunger into Hope.
Deanna Monnig, president of Ash Grove Food Pantry, is assuring families that they can get the food they need without feeling ashamed. “We have been touched by so many people who never dreaded in a million years that they would ever have to go to a food pantry! Single mothers that lost good jobs. Couples with children who are barely able to make ends meet with both of them working and now they have no job. Our people are great at telling others we are there. Believe it or not, there have been several who said they had no idea we were even there. People are wonderful,” she shared.
The Food Bank is purchasing an increased amount of food for agencies and Mobile Food Pantry distributions.
A NOTE FROM OZARKS FOOD HARVEST’S PRESIDENT/CEO BART BROWN To our valued member agencies, I’d like to personally thank each and every one of you for your outstanding response to the COVID-19 crisis. Your organizations have shown remarkable creativity, ingenuity and heartfelt care in finding solutions to continue serving your clients in these uncertain times.
We’re so thankful for the help of the National Guard through this crisis.
OZARKS FOOD HARVEST’S RESPONSE TO COVID-19 The Food Bank has been busy! More people than ever are experiencing hardship in the Ozarks, and we have stepped up to meet the increased need by hiring temporary workers and getting help from the National Guard, purchasing more food and hosting additional Mobile Food Pantries. Members of the National Guard and our temporary employees have spent more than 10,500 hours packing and distributing food. These Hunger Heroes have sorted more than 582,700 pounds of food, assembled 7,265 Senior Food boxes, packed 6,840 Weekend Backpacks and put together 5,175 emergency food boxes.
We know it’s just the beginning of a long recovery. Thousands of our neighbors are still out of work, and the nation’s and our local economies are suffering. We also know this means you’ll most likely see an increase in the number of families seeking help from your charities, and that you’ll need more resources to respond effectively.
With all of these things in mind our Board of Directors has authorized The Food Bank to continue offering all of our purchased food at no cost to you through the month of August 2020. We know you have many expenses, and it’s our hope that accessing all of our food free of charge during this time will help you defray a portion of the increased costs we’re all facing at this critical time. Heartfelt thanks for all you do!
Along with increasing the amount of food we provide to our agencies, we’re hosting additional Mobile Food Pantries in our community targeted directly to workers displaced by COVID-19, as well as SPS families who rely on the free and reduced meal program. These no-contact, drive-through distributions are designed to keep our clients and our staff members as safe as possible. People will continue to struggle to make ends meet as this pandemic wears on, and we are so thankful for the support of the community. Hundreds of donors generously have stepped up to help us purchase more food, and we will need their continued help over the next few months. If you would like to learn more about our response, please visit ozarksfoodharvest.org/covid-19-response. The page is updated weekly with progress updates, stories and more.
Mobile Food Pantries allow clients to get food safely.