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Ozarks Food Harvest, charities provide 20 million meals to residents of southwest Missouri in a 1-year period

Bread, lettuce, broccoli and basil
Robert Owen-Wahl
Bread, lettuce, broccoli and basil

Ozarks Food Harvest serves 270 hunger relief organizations in 28 Ozarks counties.

Ozarks Food Harvest, which serves about a third of Missouri, says it provided 20 million meals in the past year with the help of its network of charities.

The food bank, based in Springfield, spent $2.5 million on food purchases, and it distributed more than 23 million pounds of food.

From last July through the end of this past June, the food bank increased distribution through its Mobile Food Pantry, drive-through food pantries and Mobile Produce Pantry. It also awarded $500,000 in grants to charities to help with hunger relief efforts.

Ozarks Food Harvest says its Retail Pick-Up Program had a record-breaking year –more than 7.5 million pounds of edible food was picked up from more than 160 grocers for those in need instead of being sent to the landfill.

Kenny Ross, president of the Ozarks Food Harvest board, said in a press release that the demand for food assistance is higher now than during the peak of the pandemic.

President and CEO of the food bank Bart Brown said demand for food assistance continues to rise as people deal with increased childcare, housing and food costs.

Ozarks Food Harvest serves 278 hunger relief organizations in 28 counties.

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Michele Skalicky has worked at KSMU since the station occupied the old white house at National and Grand. She enjoys working on both the announcing side and in news and has been the recipient of statewide and national awards for news reporting. She likes to tell stories that make a difference. Michele enjoys outdoor activities, including hiking, camping and leisurely kayaking.