Ozarks Food Harvest has launched its Summer Harvest campaign to students who lose access to free and reduced-price meals from their schools for up to 90 days. (Photo: Ozarks Food Harvest)

There’s an increase in child hunger over the summer, when students lose access to free and reduced-price meals from their schools for up to 90 days. That’s why Ozarks Food Harvest is launching its Summer Harvest campaign.

Their goals are to raise awareness and 40,000 meals for child hunger in Southwest Missouri. The organization said nearly 70 percent of the children it serves receive those free and reduced-price meals during the school year.

“During the summer, children shouldn’t have to worry about where their next meal will come from,” said Bart Brown, president and CEO of Ozarks Food Harvest. “Our Summer Harvest campaign encourages folks to get involved to help kids get through the summer healthy and nourished.”

One in five children in the Ozarks Food Harvest Food Banks’ service area faces hunger. Ozarks Food Harvest works to solve child hunger over the summer through its Summer Food program, which provides nearly 49,000 meals each year. The Food Bank also utilizes its Mobile Food Pantry program and network of 270 hunger-relief partners to reach 50,000 individuals each month.

The Food Bank has several ways for the community to get involved in their Summer Harvest campaign that runs through Sept. 5:

  • Taste of Somo, June 25 — Participants can sample Southwest Missouri restaurants while Ozarks Food Harvest receives a portion of the proceeds
  • Lucas Oil Speedway Food Drive, July 23 — Donors will receive one free ticket to the races in Wheatland for every four nonperishable food items donated
  • Splash and Sizzle, May 27-Sept. 2 — Participants get free admission to Springfield-Greene County Park Board pools by bringing one canned food donation per person.

Get more information about the campaign at the Summer Harvest website.

Want to help?

Ozarks Food Harvest is always looking for volunteers and there are several ways the public can help. For more information, visit their website.

Jeff Kessinger

Jeff Kessinger 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