SPRINGFIELD, Mo.— Twenty Springfield Public Schools and 13 partnering organizations battled this fall to win the sixth annual Food Fight competition to benefit Ozarks Food Harvest. Over 32,000 pounds of food and fund donations were collected.
This year, 19,273 pounds of food and $2,315 was donated to provide 28,000 meals to people in need this holiday season. The donations were sent directly to Ozarks Food Harvest’s partner food pantries in Greene County, including SPS school pantries at Kickapoo and Central high schools.
The Food Fight champion in the middle school category is the Health Sciences Academy at Mercy. Kickapoo High School is the winner in the high school category. These schools were awarded traveling trophies this month.
The four elementary schools with classes winning field trips to Ozarks Food Harvest to see first-hand how food donations are processed are Pittman, Rountree, Truman and Westport.
“Springfield Public Schools is grateful for our partners at Ozarks Food Harvest and the work they do across the region to address food insecurity,” said Marty Moore, executive director of Learning Support and Partnerships at SPS. “Food Fight is unlike anything I've ever witnessed. How powerful is it that the food students donate stays within the district to support our school pantries at Central High School, Kickapoo High School and pantries serving Springfield families? It's exciting to witness the enthusiasm of students competing in the Food Fight each year and to see first-hand their engagement in our community.”
Since the competition began in 2010, SPS students have collected nearly 126,000 pounds of donations for The Food Bank.
“This annual competition gives students a chance to learn about how hunger affects one in six adults and one in four kids in the Ozarks. And chances are, these kids know someone who is hungry, or they are facing that challenge themselves,” said Denise Gibson, director of development and communication at Ozarks Food Harvest. “All the food and funds collected stay right here in Greene County, making this a perfect opportunity for kids to make an impact in their community.”
Area businesses and nonprofits partnered with schools to serve as collection points. The Partners in Education that helped raise food and funds for the schools included Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ozarks, Champion Youth Football League, Commercial Insurance Underwriters, Mediacom, O’Reilly Auto Parts, United Way of the Ozarks and Little Caesars locations on Glenstone, Kearney Republic and Scenic.
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About Ozarks Food Harvest — The Food Bank
Ozarks Food Harvest is the Feeding America food bank for southwest Missouri, serving more than 200 organizations across 28 Ozarks counties. The Food Bank provides 14.6 million meals annually to more than 261,000 unduplicated individuals. Learn more at ozarksfoodharvest.org, facebook.com/ozarksfoodharvest or twitter.com/ozksfoodharvest.