St. Louis, MO, May 19, 2017 --(PR.com
)-- No matter how hot St. Louis summers get, children – approximately 173,000 in our bi-state region – still need to be fed.
Enter Operation Food Search (OFS), a non-profit hunger relief organization, which has teamed up with new area partners to create additional avenues and expand existing methods for feeding children 18 years of age and younger. The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), which is funded by the USDA, ensures that children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session. The summer meal program begins June 5 and runs through Aug. 11 with mobile and stationary service Mon. through Fri.
In 2012, OFS sponsored SFSP at a single location, serving 5,000 meals to children. Last year the organization served nearly 100,000 meals at a combination of stationary and mobile sites throughout the St. Louis region. The introduction of the mobile meals concept proved successful in breaking down transportation barriers and increased access to healthy food. As a result, child participation at OFS-sponsored sites grew by 40% over summer 2015. This year the mobile meal vans will expand from 16 locations to a total of 33.
New collaborations and extended services include:
· OFS will team up with 20 AmeriCorps leaders who are part of the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that helps millions of Americans improve the lives of their fellow citizens through service. Along with meal service, AmeriCorps volunteers will provide educational interaction and entertaining activities.
· The St. Louis Public Library – which has five locations – will now feature the OFS mobile route service at the following branch locations: Carpenter, Carondelet, Central, Divoll, and Walnut Park. OFS has offered the stationary option at several St. Louis County Libraries since 2014 and will continue this year.
· St. Louis Community Credit Union – which has three of its 15 locations for distribution sites – will now feature OFS mobile route service at the following branches: Gateway (Union and Natural Bridge), Pagedale (24:1 Wealth Accumulation Center), and Benton Park (South City Wealth Accumulation Center).
· Community pop-up pantries, which will be held on five Fridays throughout the summer, will provide shelf-stable food, fresh fruits and vegetables, and on-site cooking demonstrations. The pop-up pantries will be located on the existing mobile routes to ensure access to healthy food over the weekend.
The SFSP is administered by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (MDHSS) and funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
“This program is a part of our campaign to end childhood hunger and combat the toxic stress that threatens our area’s youth,” said Operation Food Search Executive Director Sunny Schaefer. “We greatly appreciate the far-reaching community support we have received this year because it allows us to help those who would otherwise go hungry during the summer.”
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.
OFS is located at 1644 Lotsie Blvd. For more information, call (314) 726-5355.