SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– More than 10 local restaurants are teaming up to help feed families facing food insecurity.

Today marks the beginning of Ozark Food Harvest’s second annual Dine Out for Hunger.

The event provides an opportunity to help families and restaurants stay afloat as we progress through the pandemic.

“We’ve really seen that now more than ever, just small businesses coming together, figuring out ways to support each other and work together,” Co-owner of Neighbor’s Mill Bakery and Cafe Lauren Brown said.

Brown said historically, January is a slow month for the restaurant industry.

COVID-19 is only making it worse.

“People are not wanting to eat out as much, and I totally get that,” Brown said. “But it certainly makes things harder for us, so we’re just trying our best to continue making a profit and keep our staff employed and keep our doors open.”

Donations made to non-profits generally slow down this time of year as well.

“In first quarter from January to March, really donations for almost all types of charity groups, but especially basic human needs groups like Ozarks Food Harvest really drop off, just because we’re not really top-of-mind anymore,” Bart Brown of Ozarks Food Harvest said.

Brown said community support is important now more than ever.

“The demand for assistance just continues to go up due to the covid crisis, and we’re going to see that for at least six more months,” Brown said.

Participating restaurants are donating a portion of their proceeds to the organization, while SGC Foodservice will provide a dollar-for-dollar match for each donation.

Dine Out for Hunger runs from today until January 31. Participating restaurants can be found on their website, dineoutforhunger.com.

And remember, you can take part by dining in, ordering to-go, or simply purchasing a gift card.