A group of nonprofits came together last night at the Drew Lewis Foundation Inc. to serve 265 families with fresh produce, meat and pantry staples.
“It’s a huge community effort,” said Drew Lewis Foundation CEO Amy Blansit. “Over 1,000 lives were impacted from last night.”
Blansit said the food was provided at The Fairbanks, Drew Lewis Foundation’s headquarters, through a partnership between Crosslines of Springfield, Ozarks Food Harvest, Springfield Community Gardens, Convoy of Hope and Redeemer Church. Life360 Fairbanks also provided 100 hot meals.
Blansit said the distribution, which began at 4 p.m., was substantially larger than the nonprofit’s typical Thursday night outreach. She said normally 60 people come to those dinners. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the service shifted to drive-thru meals and nonprofit partners were added to expand the reach.
“Our dinners mean a lot to us and our families,” she said. “When we could no longer serve dinner as a community we continued to make dinner and had our families come and pick it up. That began to spread.”
The distribution was run by Drew Lewis staff members and a small group of volunteers from Rotary Club of Springfield Southeast, Blansit said.
She said various community members also volunteered to deliver food to homebound individuals. Ozarks Regional YMCA also is helping with food delivery.
“There is such giving people in our community,” she said.
The Drew Lewis Foundation serves low-income families year-round to help provide them access to services, employment and stable housing. She said among the roughly 100 families they are connected with, the majority have been laid off or furloughed.
“The stimulus will help them for one month. Once you pay rent, utilities, one other bill and food, that stimulus is gone,” she said. “They are at the end of any safety nets they had. Those who are already in crisis mode every day are just waiting to see … when they are going to get evicted and what resources might be there to help them stay in place.”
She said people who want to volunteer can search Drew Lewis Foundation on GivePulse.org to view opportunities, or make monetary donations directly to the nonprofit.
Hybrid coffeehouse and plant shop Urban Grounds launched in Ozark; the Missouri Job Center relocated; and Closet Chic LLC opened a brick-and-mortar shop.