Foundation meets hunger challenge

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Cassville Community Foundation (CCF) has reached other fundraising goal, which will provide the Cassville Community Food Pantry with over $6,000 in funding through the Ozarks Million Dollar Hunger Challenge II.

"We will be spending the money at the Ozarks Food Harvest, which stretches our dollars significantly," said Janet Mills, of the Cassville Community Food Pantry. "We are able to purchase food items for 10 cents on the dollar."

According to Mills, the Cassville Community Food Pantry is serving around 100 more families per month this year than the number served in 2010.

"Our need is ever increasing," said Mills. "I believe we are seeing people entirely new. People who have never asked for assistance before, young families with children who have been displaced by unemployment and the high cost of living.

"Some of these people are challenged just to pay for their utilities, medical expenses and gas," said Mills. "They are unable to pay for food when the money runs out."

The Cassville Community Food Pantry will receive $6,105.91 through the grant challenge. A portion of the funds were raised locally by the Cassville Community Foundation and the other half of the money comes from funds provided by the Walmart State Giving Foundation.

"We are thrilled to be able to help people with contributions like this," said Mills. "We couldn't operate the pantry without these kinds of showings of love. We are so grateful that caring people are willing to help in this fashion.

"Hunger is a basic need," said Mills. "It is a tragic problem to have, but the good aspect is that we are able to help. Programs like this make such a huge difference in our buying potential and help us meet the need in the community consistently."

Mills said the funds are especially appreciated during the holiday season when more individuals visit the local food pantry.

"Families want to celebrate, and we want to help them celebrate," said Mills. "We want to make sure every child is fed on the holidays. Could you imagine not being able to provide your child with food on a holiday?

"We all need the gift of blessings, and this is a way that we are able to share our blessings," said Mills. "When you have an abundance, it is good to pass it forward."

The Ozarks Million Dollar Hunger Challenge began in response to a national report describing the extent to which hunger plagues Ozarks communities. The report estimated that 155,000 Ozarkers face chronic hunger issues.

In 2010, the Walmart State Giving Foundation awarded a $100,000 grant for the grant-making challenge. This year, the foundation awarded a $125,000 grant to Ozarks Food Harvest for a second challenge opportunity.

This year's hunger challenge attracted 25 food programs from across the region, including the Cassville Community Foundation.

Last year, the Foundation reached a $5,300 fundraising goal to provide the Cassville Community Food Pantry with $10,500 in funding through the original Ozarks Million Dollar Hunger Challenge.

The food pantry, which is located in the Cassville United Methodist Church, is open from 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Thursday or by appointment. For more information, call 847-2328.

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