Four middle school students hold a giant silver fork
Springfield Public School students and partnering organizations collected more 77,000 meals during the 12th annual Food Fight, benefitting Ozarks Food Harvest. (Photo: Ozarks Food Harvest)

A record-breaking 77,000 meals were collected in March and April during Ozarks Food Harvest’s 12th annual Food Fight competition.

Springfield Public School students and partnering organizations teamed up for the Food Fight, which benefits the food bank. This year’s Food Fight had 40 SPS schools and two administrative offices — with support from partnering organizations — spend one week competing to collect the most food and fund donations for the food bank.

The winners of this year’s Food Fight were:

  • Study High School
  • Reed Academy
  • Pleasant View
  • Bowerman Elementary
  • Cowden Elementary
  • Horace Mann Elementary
  • Rountree Elementary
  • York Elementary
  • Mallory Early Childhood Center

“I’m thrilled at how hard SPS students and staff worked to provide meals for families facing hunger here in southwest Missouri,” said Dr. Ron Woodard, director of family support services for Springfield Public Schools. “Food Fight brings out the best in our community and I’m glad we get to share it with Ozarks Food Harvest.”

The food donations will be distributed across Ozarks Food Harvest’s 28-county service area. Collected funds will sponsor more than 40 children for a full school year of Weekend Backpack Program meals.

Several businesses partnered with schools to serve as collection points. Partners included:

  • Alamo Drafthouse
  • Battlefield Fire Protection
  • Craig Lehman Shelter Insurance
  • Culver’s Custard
  • Doubletree by Hilton Inn
  • Joe’s Tire Shop
  • Little Caesars
  • Mid-Missouri Bank
  • Oasis Hotel and Convention Center
  • Penmac Staffing
  • Rapid Roberts
  • RNR Tire on North Glenstone
  • The Sandwich Scene
  • Starbucks

“These meals will go a long way towards helping the 1 in 5 children and 1 in 6 adults who face hunger here in the Ozarks,” said Bart Brown, president/CEO at Ozarks Food Harvest.

Since the competition began in 2011, SPS students and partners have provided more than 437,000 meals for children, families and seniors served by the food bank.

Jeff Kessinger

Jeff Kessinger is the Reader Engagement Editor for the Springfield Daily Citizen, and the voice of its daily newsletter SGF A.M. He covered sports in southwest Missouri for the better part of 20 years, from young athletes to the pros. The Springfield native and Missouri State University alumnus is thrilled to be doing journalism in the Queen City, helping connect the community with important information. He and wife Jamie daily try to keep a tent on the circus that is a blended family of five kids and three cats. More by Jeff Kessinger