SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — When the pandemic took hold of the Ozarks, three charities were all forced to improvise in order to help a growing community need.

COVID-19 created the perfect storm: increased demands along with declines in donations and distributions to the supply chains. Ozarks Food Harvest, Crosslines, and Convoy of Hope helped supply families with hundreds of millions of meals from different facilities in Springfield despite the challenges.

Ozarks Food Harvest handled the growing need by deploying 120 mobile food pantries. The non-profit distributed a record-breaking 23 million meals in the Ozarks.

“We put an emphasis on getting food into our community and staying for the long haul,” said Jordan Browning, the public information officer for Ozarks Food Harvest. “We’ve served more than 260,000 individuals.”

Over at Convoy of Hope, a goal of supplying 10 million meals early on in the pandemic morphed into 50 million and is now over 200 million meals thanks to overwhelming support from donors.

At Crosslines, a typical grocery store experience was replaced with an online ordering system.

Overall, Crosslines served nearly 50,000 people through mobile distributions during the pandemic. Buchholz said Crosslines began delivering groceries right to elderly neighbor’s homes, which is one tool that will continue after COVID-19.

“If folks need our services, they often face transportation barriers as well, so we’re really hoping to be able to build upon that program and grow that if we can receive additional funding, volunteers, and infrastructure to make it happen,” said Buchholz.

As summer starts up and COVID-19 starts fading away, these charities said they are in it for the long haul by ramping up distribution during the next few months.

If you would like to donate your time to any of these charities, click here.