GREENE COUNTY – Convoy of Hope and Ozarks Food Harvest are just two big organizations that help feed families across the Ozarks.
Convoy of Hope’s world distribution center opened in the city limits of Republic. Even with responding to disasters globally, it wanted to help out locally.
“Last year, for instance, we had 262 distributions around the Springfield area, giving out more than 2 million pounds of food, almost 3 million pounds of food,” Convoy National Spokesperson Ethan Forhetz said. “There’s a big need here locally, and we do what we can to fill that need giving food to food banks on a regular basis. And just setting up events.”
Forhetz said resources typically stay in the distribution center for a few weeks before getting shipped out. He said the first need for families is usually water, closely followed by food.
“We would send water in truckloads of water into towns that would help them,” Forhetz said. “I’m thinking of Texas County last year was one of the places that we just sent truckloads of water because that was the need. We supply a lot of people with food, whether that’s food banks here in the Ozarks or whether it’s community events around the Ozarks or during big disasters that take place like a hurricane or tornadoes. We give out boxes of cereal, cans of spaghetti sauce, spaghetti noodles, [and even] clif type bars.”
Like Convoy, Ozarks Food Harvest hands out food to several food banks.
“We supply food to more than 270 agencies spread across a 28 county service area,” Ozarks Food Harvest Public Information Officer Jordan Browning said. “just in the Springfield area, we supply 70% of the food that food pantries and feeding sites are distributing across Springfield. [Greene county] is our largest county that we service and it also has the most population that we have to serve.”
Browning said Ozarks Food Harvest relies on food drives and donations to get supplies.
“One of the things that a lot of people don’t understand about Ozarks food harvest is how far we can take a single dollar,” Browning said. “With just a one dollar donation, we can turn that into ten dollars worth of groceries because we have this distribution warehouse that we can get food at a much cheaper rate than any one else can. We’ve been able to distribute 20 million meals within the last year, and in any given time we’re holding about one-million meals in here ready to be distributed.”