Four events to give food to be held in July

Members of the National Guard, Lutie school district and Salem General Baptist Church worked together to distribute fresh food boxes to 150 families during a June 19 drive-thru event at the school. The group is organizing another distribution to be held from 10 a.m. to noon Thursday, July 23. To reserve a box for pickup that day, call Lutie School at 417-273-4150. There are no requirements to qualify for the distribution.

Schools, churches and organizations around the county are working to organize a variety of upcoming food giveaways to ensure that no family in Ozark County goes hungry. Information on three upcoming events is listed below. 

Those organizing future food-giveaway or community-support events are encouraged to contact the Ozark County Times to have the event included in upcoming edition. Call 417-679-4641 or email


First Baptist Church fresh produce giveaway - Tuesday, July 7

The First Baptist Church in Gainesville will host a free fresh-produce distribution from 2 to 7 p.m. Thursday, July 9. FBC Pastor Mason Eslinger said the food, provided in cooperation with the Missouri Baptist Association, will be distributed first come, first served to those who drive up to the church’s basement door on Second Street in Gainesville next to the Robert Burns Masonic Lodge. 

The church held its first fresh-produce distribution June 23, and all the produce was quickly given away. For the July 7 event, Eslinger said the church has ordered twice as much food as it gave away to the 50-60 people who participated in the first distribution.

Eslinger told the Times, “God has blessed us with the opportunity to help the community. It is nothing we have done, but what He is doing. I want to give Him the glory, not the church.”

To maintain social distancing, volunteers will be standing outside, Eslinger said. Those wishing to pick up food will pull up to the basement door, open a car door or window, and the volunteer will set the food in their vehicles. 

The produce boxes include such items as apples, potatoes, celery, tomatoes carrots, peppers and other fruits and vegetables. There are no requirements to qualify for the food distribution, he said. “It’s open to everyone who needs it.”


Ozark County Food Pantry - Wednesdays, July 8 and 15

The Ozark County Food Pantry will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, July 8, and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wednesday, July 15, at the former Hodgson Mill factory building on County Road 806 in Gainesville. 

The distribution will again be operating as a drive-thru service to help curb concerns related to the COVID-19 virus, as it was in April, May and June. 

Those participating in the food pantry should remain in their vehicles and line up in the parking lot and on the roadway. The only requirement at this time is that those receiving food from the pantry are Ozark County residents. 

Those who are new to the food pantry are just asked to bring a photo ID and some poof of residence such as an electric bill or other bill in the resident’s name with an Ozark County residence. When the food pantry returns to normal after pandemic concerns have eased, income requirements will be reinstated; however, proof of income will not be required this month.

For more information, call the Ozark County Health Department at 417-679-3334.


Food giveaway in Theodosia -  Thursday, July 23

A food giveaway will be held between 10 a.m. and noon Thursday, July 23, in the Lutie School parking lot. 

Those wishing to receive food should call the Lutie School at 417-273-4150 to reserve a box in their name. The boxes are available to all residents of Ozark County, not only families of students. There are no income requirements or other guidelines to receive the food. 

More than 150 families were provided free food baskets during the June 19 drive-thru food giveaway at the school. The project is a joint effort of the Lutie school district, Salem General Baptist Church, the Missouri National Guard and Ozark Food Harvest. Lutie School superintendent Scot Young said 368 people were provided food through the program in June.  

“Next month, we will be up to 200 families or possibly more,” he said. 

Helping Young with the June 19 event were 12 National Guard members from the Monett station, Lutie principal Amy Lane, Lutie agriculture teacher Kathalee Cole, Lutie elementary school teacher Misty Souder, Lutie students Tember Brockett and Sabrina Englehardt and Salem General Baptist Church pastor Ric Englehardt and wife Lisa and church member Marty Davidson.

The June boxes included eggs, juice, chicken wings, bread, fruits and vegetables plus canned goods and other nonperishable items. 

Fifty families were provided with fresh food at the first emergency food giveaway April 30 at Lutie School. 

For more information, call Lutie School at 417-273-4150.

Ozark County Times

504 Third Steet
PO Box 188
Gainesville, MO 65655

Phone: (417) 679-4641
Fax: (417) 679-3423