Mar. 15—CARTHAGE, Mo. — Crosslines Ministries-Carthage has received a donation of a walk-in freezer as part of a grant of more than $200,000 from Ozarks Food Harvest.
The organization was one of more than eight food pantries in Southwest Missouri to receive a walk-in freezer to assist with COVID-19 relief efforts. In addition to donating the 16-foot-by-11-foot units, Ozarks Food Harvest also funded the concrete pad pouring, delivery, assembly and electrical installation.
"Many of the families we serve are faced with tough decisions during COVID-19, and a donation like this will make a huge impact," said Belle Lown, director of Crosslines-Carthage, in a statement. "Thanks to Ozarks Food Harvest, we're able to accept and distribute more food to families now and in the future."
Freezer donations were targeted to rural areas affected by COVID-19, as they tended to experience greater job losses, specifically in manufacturing and tourism, and increased food insecurity. Ozarks Food Harvest officials said their long-term plan is to optimize food access in rural communities that lack the infrastructure and equipment needed for increased food distribution.
"We know that food insecurity rates are higher in rural communities and will continue to increase during COVID-19," said Bart Brown, president and CEO of Ozarks Food Harvest, in a statement. "We're so grateful to be able to provide assistance to our agencies to ensure storage space isn't a barrier to serving more folks in their communities."
Crosslines Ministries-Carthage distributed more than $217,000 worth of food last year in partnership with Ozarks Food Harvest, helping to serve more than 820 families in eastern Jasper County, officials said. The organization also provides rent, utility assistance and medicine to families in emergency situations.
The Springfield-based Ozarks Food Harvest has hosted more than 75 mobile food pantries since April, purchased an additional $2.2 million worth of food and provided 14 million meals for its network of 270 organizations across 28 counties in the Ozarks.