SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – When Ozarks First highlighted Convoy of Hope and its efforts earlier this year, the organization had successfully served ten million meals.
A month after that, it joined a program that helps farmers get back to work, feeding those in need.
“We started during this COVID season with a goal to provide 10 million meals to families in need,” National spokesperson Jeff Nene said.
As shipments of food products kept coming in, Nene’s non-profit exceeded its 10 million meals goal.
“Now we’ve reached the 150 million meal mark,” Nene said. “People all around the world. Most of those here in the United States. And, a lot of those here in the Springfield area.”
Minister Bob Roberts with Second Baptist Church can attest to that.
“We did a distribution over two days on a Friday and Saturday,” Roberts said. “And, roughly touched over 400 families in order to provide them fresh produce. It really was beneficial to the family.”
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, some farmers struggled to find work. Several families also didn’t have enough food on the table. In April 2020, the United States Department of Agriculture offered some relief.
“USDA is announcing the coronavirus food assistance program,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said. “This new $19B program will take several immediate actions to assist farmers, ranchers and consumers.”
President Trump then launched the Farmers to Families Food Box program in May.
Ivanka Trump helped coordinate those efforts.
“These family-sized boxes will be delivered to food banks, community and faith-based organizations, and other non for profits serving Americans in need across the country,” Trump said.
The USDA spent up to $4.5 billion on the program, which Convoy of Hope joined in June.
“We see success in this distribution in a variety of ways,” Jeff Nene said. “One of those is it’s opened up new vendors to us: Farmers and people that we’re able to receive those food and supplies from.”
Through the program, Nene says, Convoy received more than 1200 truckloads of food. It distributed more than 1.3 million boxes.
“We’ve been able to reach out and work with churches and businesses that we’ve never been able to in the past because of the volume and because of the need,” Nene said.
Convoy partnered with Second Baptist in June.
Bob Roberts remembers the reaction he got from families when he gave them a box.
“A lot of them as they would come by, they would say hey if it wasn’t for this we wouldn’t have any fresh produce in our household at all,” Roberts said.
Nene says Convoy of Hope is no longer participating in the program, but they’re still are ways you can help. Text “Convoy” to 243-725, or you can donate here.