Operation Food Search Named 2016 Neighborhood Builder by Bank of America

Nonprofit recognized for food insecurity work in St. Louis community.

St. Louis, MO, November 23, 2016 --(PR.com)-- Bank of America has announced Operation Food Search (OFS) as a 2016 Neighborhood Builder. The nonprofit is being recognized for its work in helping to nourish and educate those suffering from food insecurity in the St. Louis community, which in turn, supports the sustainable growth of the local economy. Through Neighborhood Builders (#NeighborhoodBuilders), the bank provides nonprofits with a unique combination of leadership development, $200,000 in flexible funding, a network of peer organizations across the U.S. and the opportunity to access capital in order to expand their impact in the St. Louis community.

“We recognize the critical role that nonprofits and their leaders play to build pathways to economic progress in the St. Louis community,” said Jackie Yoon, St. Louis market president, Bank of America. “Through our Neighborhood Builders program, we connect outstanding nonprofits, like Operation Food Search, to the funding and leadership development resources they need to scale their impact and help our community to thrive.”

Operation Food Search distributes more than $35 million dollars’ worth of food and household essentials annually to its 330 community partner agencies (made up of food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters transitional homes, community partners, churches and schools), which in turn feeds 200,000 people in need each month – nearly one-third of whom are children. In addition to the organization’s emergency food distribution services, OFS offers culinary-based programs for children, teen and adults that designed to empower families by boosting their skills and confidence to shop for and prepare healthy meals at home.

The funds awarded to the organization will help OFS support its community and teaching demonstration kitchen at its new 70,000-square-foot state-of-the-art food distribution and community education center, specifically designed to support, expand and complement its Cooking Matters courses. Innovative culinary programs will be developed and evaluated to help move the needle on food insecurity and chronic dietary diseases such as obesity, hypertension and diabetes in St. Louis’ most vulnerable communities. Local celebrity chefs and other community leaders will be trained to help lead classes, further leveraging the region's unique talents.

“We are honored to be chosen as the 2016 Bank of America Neighborhood Builder in the St. Louis market,” said Sunny Schaefer, Executive Director, Operation Food Search. “Through the grant and leadership development training provided by this award, our organization can provide greater support to our programs, specifically to our Cooking Matters courses, continuing to create an avenue for nutrition education as well as helping to fill the gap in access to affordable and nutritious meals.”

Since 2004, through Neighborhood Builders, Bank of America has helped nonprofits create greater impact in their communities and better prepare for the future by providing the tools and resources they need to develop stronger strategic plans, chart a succession plan, navigate through tough economic times, and enhance their funding opportunities. Since the program’s inception, Bank of America has invested more than $180 million in 900 nonprofit organizations across the country, providing leadership resources to nearly 2,000 nonprofit leaders, and the program has been recognized as the nation’s largest philanthropic investment in nonprofit leadership development.

Neighborhood Builders is a signature demonstration of the bank’s work to address issues fundamental to economic mobility in order to build thriving communities and illustrates how strong cross-sector partnerships and local community leaders can play a meaningful role in positioning communities for success. The awardees are selected by a local market selection committee with representation by local community leaders from diverse sectors.

About Bank of America Environmental, Social and Governance
At Bank of America, our focus on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors is critical to fulfilling our purpose of helping make people’s financial lives better. Our commitment to growing our business responsibly is embedded in every aspect of our company. It is demonstrated in the inclusive and supportive workplace we create for our employees, the responsible products and services we offer our customers, and the impact we help create around the world in helping local economies thrive. An important part of this work is forming strong partnerships across sectors - including community and environmental advocate groups, as well as non-profits – in order to bring together our collective networks and expertise to achieve greater impact.

About Operation Food Search
Founded in 1981, Operation Food Search (OFS) is a hunger relief organization that provides food and nutrition education. With a strategic focus aimed at ending childhood hunger, OFS empowers families with a range of programs and services proven to reduce food insecurity and increase access to healthy and affordable food. For every dollar donated, OFS provides $21 worth of food and nutrition services to support the area’s hungry.

Operation Food Search is located at 1644 Lotsie Blvd. For more information, call (314) 726-5355.
Operation Food Search
Rochelle Brandvein