No one left hungry: Residents across Ozark County work to raise money, distribute food to ensure no one goes hungry
Generous Ozark Countians contribute food, paper goods and cash during April 29 food drive
A woman with a desire to help, a group of willing volunteers and a generous community made for a successful Ozark County Food Drive Wednesday, April 29. Organized by Debbie Daniel of Theodosia, nine volunteers accepted non-perishable food items, cleaning supplies, paper goods and monetary donations at Gainesville, Bakersfield, Lutie, Dora and Thornfield schools from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the unseasonably cool, windy and sometimes drizzly day. Those who helped were Shari Schaper, Glenda Seilnacht, Donny Harper, Gene Cherry, Karen Geers, John Westbrook, Sue and Bert Goodman and Debra Schilling Smith.
“It was a successful day, even though the weather wasn’t very cooperative,” Debbie Daniel said. “Lots of good stuff was donated, and the volunteers did a great job. The credit goes to them and all the people who donated.”
In total, $3,795 and two trucks full of items were donated to the Ozark County Food Pantry. “This is wonderful,” said Rhonda Suter, Ozark County Health Department administrator as she helped unload the trucks. “We have so many people in need – now more than ever. This will really help.”
Everyone who made a donation was entered into a drawing for prizes. Winners of the drawings were Gloria Noah, John Maglione and Mary Freeman.
Those who could not make it to the food drive and want to help can mail a check made payable to Ozark County Food Pantry, to the Ozark County Health Department, P.O. Box 180, Gainesville, MO 65655.
Emergency Food Drive
Thanks to a group effort by Salem General Baptist Church in Ocie, the Lutie School District, Ozark Food Harvest and the Missouri National Guard, 56 Ozark County families were given boxes filled with fresh, healthy food April 30 as part of an emergency food drive. Lutie School superintendent Scot Young said the school served as the distribution point, and Ozark Food Harvest provided meat, fresh fruits and vegetables and bread for each family. Salem General Baptist Church members, along with nine National Guardsmen, came, sorted and loaded boxes for each family. The National Guard members then delivered about half of the boxes to residents’ homes; several other families picked up their boxes at the school parking lot. There were “lots of happy people,” Young said. Organizers say they hope to organize the food drive each month in the future. Details are still being developed.
Ozark County Food Pantry dates
The Ozark County Food Pantry distributes food to Ozark County residents twice a month. Through at least May, the food pantry will operate as a drive-thru operation. Residents should line up on County Road 806 west of the Ozark County Sheriff’s Office at the former Hodgson Mill Enterprises building and be ready to pull into the driveway and up to the front of the building, when directed, to receive food.
Ozark County Health Department administrator Rhonda Suter said that, in May, those who are new to the food pantry only need to show an ID and proof of Ozark County residency to receive help. Once the food pantry returns to its normal format, proof of income and other requirements may also be needed. For more information, call OCHD at 679-3334.
The food pantry is held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on most first Wednesdays of each month and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on most second Wednesdays of each month. Food pantry dates for the rest of 2020 are: May 6 and 13, June 3 and 10, July 8 and 15, Aug. 5 and 12, Sept. 9 and 16, Oct. 7 and 14, Nov. 4 and 11, Dec. 9 and 16.
New program provides food boxes for Lutie families
Lutie R-VI School District is participating in the “meals-to-you” program through a partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The program provides families of Lutie students with a box of food delivered to their home for each child age 1 to 18 in the household every other week. Each box contains 10 breakfasts and 10 lunch/dinner meals. All foods are shelf-stable and kid-friendly. If families are not home when delivery is made, the boxes will be left outside the front door. The food boxes will not affect other aid programs families may be receiving such as SNAP benefits. The program will run through June 30.