Three people stand by an easel
Jennifer “Hemmy” Hemmer, Clint “Girlie” Gurlek and Bart Brown show off the totals from the 24th annual Hungerthon. (Photo: Ozarks Food Harvest)

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The 24th annual Hungerthon was a record breaker for Ozarks Food Harvest and iHeartRadio Springfield.

The two organizations collected $260,422 Sept. 9-12 for Ozarks Food Harvest’s weekend backpack program. That’s enough money to provide meals to 723 kids facing hunger every weekend of the school year.

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The food bank’s weekend backpack program provides nearly 1,600 children with food to take home every Friday throughout the school year. One in five children faces hunger in southwest Missouri, especially on the weekends when school meals aren’t available.

“We’re so thankful for iHeartRadio’s partnership again this year to raise funds for our weekend backpack program,” said Bart Brown, Ozarks Food Harvest’s president and CEO. “It’s a blessing to live in a community that gives so generously to children facing hunger.”

Last year’s event raised more than $250,000 — enough to provide more than 700 children facing hunger with a food bag every weekend for an entire school year. Since 1999, Hungerthon has raised $2.6 million to provide 1.8 million meals to children in southwest Missouri.

“It’s always such an honor to work with Ozarks Food Harvest to help feed children facing hunger in our community,” said Clint “Girlie” Gerlek, VP of programming for iHeartRadio and Hungerthon co-host. “Thank you to everyone who made a donation and helped ensure that 723 children will have meals over the weekend for an entire school year.”

Unable to participate in Hungerthon? Pledges can still be made securely at the official Hungerthon website.