Ozarks Food Harvest is preparing for an increased demand for food as mandates to control the coronavirus continue. The food bank is purchasing additional food to help those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Area restaurants and bars in Greene County are closed to dine in customers for a few weeks. And, while some of them are still offering pickup service, employees are facing decreased hours or unemployment. Other area businesses are closed temporarily due to concerns about the virus, including Battlefield Mall.
Some of the extra food will go toward the Weekend Backpack Program, which serves more than 1600 children in 59 schools annually. It will also go to food pantries in Ozarks Food Harvest’s 28-county service area.
"We are putting in more requests for food from our distributors because we're not waiting as far as regard for any cost," said Jordan Browning, community partnerships and advocacy coordinator for the Ozarks Food Harvest." "We're acting now to get that food shipment here because we know that's going to be an increased need that's going to hit us."
Ozarks Food Harvest is in constant contact with the food pantries it serves to be sure they can continue to help people in a “safe and…healthy way,” he said. Many food pantries have gone to drive-through service to keep everyone safe.
The food bank has set up the COVID-19 Hope Fund to raise money to feed those in need during the coronavirus pandemic.
"The majority of that we are going to be using to purchase additional food for our entire community but, specifically, at-risk children, seniors and individuals that have been displaced from unemployment just to make sure that they have some kind of access to food while we're going through this situation," said Browning.
He said, while they appreciate food donations, those would be an extra burden right now. And money goes further, Browning said. A $1 donation will help provide $10 worth of groceries to families who need food.
Donations can be made at ozarksfoodharvest.org. Click on the “Donate” button.
Anyone who needs help can go to ozarksfoodharvest.org. Click on the "Need Help" tab to locate the nearest food pantry.