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Ozarks food harvest food bank supplies food to 37 counties in southern Missouri. An average of 25,000 people receive food every month from agencies served by Ozarks food harvest. But there currently is very little food available on the food bank's shelves to distribute'
"Right now we are as low as we have been in about 8 years in terms of our food inventory here, and one of the programs that is directly affected by our food shortage'particularly salvaged food'is our kids caf...ˆ after-school feeding program, which provides hot evening meals to about 900 kids 5 nights a week, every week throughout the school year. That's in addition to distributing food to 270 hunger relief agencies."
Bart Brown is development director for Ozarks food harvest. He says the main reason for the shortage is a change in the way salvaged food items are dealt with. Those are things like dented cans that are rejected by merchants but contain food that is still good. Brown says they used to be able to pick up those items at a central location'that's no longer the case. Brown says from now on they'll have to be very proactive in dealing with individual stores.
To meet the immediate shortage of food, a food drive is being held this week at many area grocery stores. The goal is to collect as much food as possible by Saturday. As part of the feed the need campaign, barrels have been placed at grocery stores in Springfield and in several cities across southern and central Missouri. Shoppers are asked to drop food into the barrels to help feed the needy in the Ozarks. Brown says donating couldn't be any easier'
"When they're shopping'some of out most needed food items include canned protein items like tuna or chicken or canned soups, pasta meals or stew. Also, macaroni and cheese or boxed cake mixes'look and see whatever's on sale. Bag them separately and then drop them in the collection barrel on your way out the door."
The campaign will culminate on Saturday'make a difference day'with an event at 4 pm at Ozarks food harvest to announce how much food was collected. Volunteers will head out Saturday morning to collect donated food. For more information call Ozarks food harvest at 865-3411.