WEST PLAINS, Mo. – The next prequalification for the Ozarks Food Harvest Mobile Food Pantry will be from 4 to 5:45 p.m. Wednesday, March 5, at the West Plains Public Library Community Room, 750 W. Broadway.
March’s mobile food pantry is being sponsored by the Lelia Heuer Foundation, Stewart-Morrison Redi-Mix, Jerome Quinn and the Young Adults Over 50 Class at Bethel Baptist Church.
Those eligible to apply for this assistance include area families with children ages birth through 18 who live within Howell County. This includes the communities of West Plains, Willow Springs and Mountain View. Previously, the criteria only included families who lived within the boundaries of the West Plains R-7 School District or surrounding rural school districts.
Students enrolled at Missouri State University-West Plains and the South Central Career Center also are eligible, organizers said, provided they meet income guidelines. Missouri State students must present their student identification cards in person, as well as a current class schedule; they may not send them with a family member. Families will receive only one voucher per family.
Those who apply should bring the following documentation to the prequalification: A photo ID, proof of income, proof of Howell County residency, names and ages of children, and a telephone number. Proof of Howell County residency does not apply to Missouri State-West Plains or South Central Career Center students, organizers said.
Volunteers will verify documentation of those seeking assistance at the prequalification and give vouchers for the date of the truck delivery. Only people receiving vouchers will receive food from the truck during the March delivery, organizers stressed, adding vouchers must be received every month for truck delivery.
The Ozarks Food Harvest Mobile Food Pantry provides food and grocery products for up to 250 qualifying families each month. The first delivery arrived April 13, 2010. The next prequalification date is April 2, 2014.
Organizers said it is hoped community agencies and groups will sponsor successive months for $1,000 per month. In addition to this month’s sponsor, the following community organizations, businesses and individuals have sponsored previous months or are planning to sponsor future months: Salvation Army, Colton Johnson, Victory Family Worship Center, Grace Community Church, Burton Creek Medical Clinic, Christos House, Sunrise Rotary, Noon Rotary, First Church of God, Kiwanis Club, First Christian Church, the Girl Scouts, West Plains Ba Hai group, Dale and Jan Rickert, West Vue Nursing Home, West Plains Electric Supply, Word of Life Ministry, United Freewill Baptist Church, All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Renee Cawvey, Willow Springs General Baptist Church, Rick and Sherri Jolliff, West Plains Daily Quill employees, Bill and Pam Hutchings, Unitarian Universalist Church of West Plains, Bethel Baptist Church, Reba Barnhart, Hazel Evins, Stewart-Morrison Redi-Mix, Greater Ozarks Marine Corps League, Young Adults Over 50 Class at Bethel Baptist Church, First Presbyterian Church and Jerome Quinn.
The Lelia Heuer Foundation of Springfield sponsored the first six months of the food distribution and later granted a request to sponsor an additional 12 months. More sponsors are needed to ensure the project continues without interruption.
The mobile pantry is designed not to duplicate, but instead supplement services already being provided by area food banks, organizers said, adding volunteers are needed for prequalification dates, as well as distribution dates.
For more information about the Ozarks Food Harvest Mobile Food Pantry project, or if you are interested in volunteering or donating, go to http://wp.missouristate.edu/Development/ozarkfoodharvest.htm or contact officials at the American Red Cross, 417-257-0018.