SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — As we head into the summertime, Ozarks Food Harvest is preparing to take care of kids during the warm months.

“The need in the summer especially goes up because so many of the kids that are already struggling with food and security, they’re not going to be able to be getting those dedicated meals of breakfast, and lunch that they usually get during the school year,” said Jordan Browning, public information officer at Ozarks Food Harvest.

Browning said caring for these kids adds a lot to the food bank’s existing workload.

“We not only distribute more food, we need to purchase more food,” said Browning.

Ozarks Food Harvest already implements a backpack program which Springfield Public Schools said is very helpful.

“So those same kids that may be struggling with hunger during the school week, we want to make sure they’re still having access to a meal over the weekend so they can come back to school on Monday ready to learn,” said Browning.

Kim Keller, with Springfield Public Schools, explains the district’s collaboration efforts with Ozarks Food Harvest from 2020.

“We were able to work with them and get boxes delivered to several different sites, and we were able to distribute our food along with the boxes of produce,” said Keller.

Browning said there is a summer service program that can help fill the gaps during summer break.

“To make sure that they’re still getting those meals, that way summer doesn’t become an issue of hunger waiting for them to go back to school,” said Browning.

Volunteers are saying they are happy to help out.

“It makes me feel fantastic,” said Tyler Farquhar, a volunteer for Ozarks Food Harvest. “I know that Springfield and Greene County have a really big impoverish population for children, so I love being able to give back and help them out.”

You can donate to Ozarks Food Harvest by clicking here.