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Volunteers Participate in the Day of Caring with the Ozarks Food Harvest

Right now I’m at the Ozarks Food Harvest Food Bank where 50 volunteers just broke for lunch after readying the 1,000 backpacks they plan to fill and distribute to hungry children across the Ozarks.

A volunteer fills up his glass during lunch.

Jennifer Sickinger is the volunteer coordinator with Ozarks Food Harvest. She and her regular weekly volunteers say they are grateful for the extra hand.

“They are able to make a large impact today. Normally, we have week day volunteer groups that come out. And that may be 5-20 volunteers. But today, with this large amount of volunteers, we are really able to create more of an assembly line and knock out some of those bigger projects,” Sickinger said.

The Ozarks Food Harvest’s Back Pack Program provides at-risk children with  backpacks filled with nutritious food for them to take home on the weekends.

The “Day of Caring” volunteers also write “Hope Notes” for the kids during lunch, and pack them in the backpack alongside their food. These "Hope Notes" are encouraging thoughts and pictures for the children. 

Ozarks Food Harvest collects and distributes more than 1 million pounds of food monthly to a network of agencies across 28 southwest Missouri counties.The organization serves over 80,000 people every month and collects perishable food items like soups, boxed meals, peanut butter and macaroni and cheese.

For KSMU News, I'm Shannon Bowers.