Missouri National Guard helping with drive-thru food pantry while Crosslines is closed
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - The Crosslines food pantry locked its doors because an employee tested positive for COVID-19. Now, the Missouri National Guard is stepping in to make sure families in need don’t go hungry. According to Ozarks Food Harvest, providing those meals is even more important right now.
“The numbers we were seeing pre-pandemic, one in five children and one in seven adults in southwest Missouri were struggling with some kind of food insecurity," said Jordan Browning, Public Information Officer with Ozarks Food Harvest.
Browning said the demand for services at local food pantries has dramatically increased in the last several months. He said
the Missouri National Guard has been helping fill that need since March, when pantries had to shut down volunteer operations.
“So far, with the National Guard, they’ve contributed more than 6-thousand hours of volunteer work sorting over a million pounds of food," Browning said.
According to Ozarks Food Harvest, since April 2020, the organization has hosted more than 70 mobile food pantries with the National Guard to distribute 719,000 meals to nearly 42,000 individuals.
Crosslines is one of the Springfield locations where families in need can pick up free food. After a COVID-19 exposure, the pantry is closed until at least November 2nd.
“What we’re doing right now is organizing two different mobile food pantries to send to the parking lot for where they are located to make sure that they’re clients are still getting the food they would normally get from Crosslines," Browning said.
The mobile food pantries will be drive-thrus.
“All of our clients don’t even have to get out of their cars. The National Guard will be able to load that food directly in there and they’ll be able to exit the parking lot so we can minimize contact and increase social distancing," Browning said.
Browning said he worries even more families will need help putting food on the table in the coming months and he’s thankful the Missouri National Guard will be staying in Springfield through the holidays to provide for them.
“It has been so helpful to making sure that all of our food pantries and meal programs have completely stocked shelves and no one has to worry about where their next meal’s going to come from," he said.
The drive-thru food pantries will be Tuesday, Oct. 27 and Tuesday, Nov. 3 in the Crosslines parking lot from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Crosslines is located at the southwest corner of Glenstone and Chestnut.
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