"This challenge has really taken off, and we have already exceeded our goal," said Landon Fletcher, CCF chairman. "We are very pleased with the support we have received from individuals and businesses at the local level to support the Hunger Challenge.
"This helps provide for those in need of local services," said Fletcher. "There is no reason anybody in Barry County should go hungry."
CCF began raising funds for the Ozarks Million Dollar Hunger Challenge in February. Although the local organization was given until June 30 to meet its fundraising goal, nearly a dozen donors stepped forward to contribute to the campaign within the first month.
Businesses and individuals contributing to the fundraising campaign included: the Cassville Lions Club, Runnels Chiropractic, Security Bank, Commerce Bank, Freedom Bank, Ken Cieslinski, Kelly Wade, Fasco and several anonymous donors. Funds were also donated through the Robert "Bob" Townsend Memorial Fund.
The Ozarks Million Dollar Hunger Challenge originated with a $100,000 donation from the Walmart Foundation. The funds have been used to establish a challenge grant that will benefit over 20 different organizations in southwest Missouri.
The funds raised by CCF will be matched dollar for dollar with money from the Walmart Foundation.
"By purchasing food through the Ozark Food Harvest, food pantries will receive $5 worth of food for each dollar spent," said Gary Funk, Community Foundation of the Ozarks president and chief executive officer. "Essentially, this could provide food pantries in the Cassville area with $53,000 worth of food to help needy people in the community."
CCF's fundraising campaign will benefit the food pantry located at the Cassville United Methodist Church (UMC), which is supported by the local community, UMC members and members of St. Edwards Catholic Church in Cassville.
Hunger Challenge funds will be disbursed to food pantries by the Community Foundation of the Ozarks in June. At that time, the local food pantry will receive a credit that can be used to purchase items from the Ozarks Food Pantry in Springfield. The local food pantry will have at least one year to spend the funds.
"We are so encouraged by the people who have responded from their hearts with compassion for the people in our community who are struggling," said Janet Mills, of the local food pantry. "This reflects the heart of Cassville, which is compassionate and dedicated to serving community members in a tangible way.
"The true response for those in need is overwhelming," said Mills. "This will help us meet one of the most fundamental needs that families are faced with in the home. This will help them step back toward stability again."
The local food pantry is open from 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Thursday or by appointment. For more information, call 847-2328.