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Nearly 80 area grocery stores are helping “Check Out” Hunger for Ozarks Food Harvest for 15th consecutive year

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NEWS RELEASE ISSUED BY OZARKS FOOD HARVEST

Nearly 80 area grocery stores are helping “Check Out” Hunger for Ozarks Food Harvest for 15th consecutive year

Holiday fundraiser runs Nov. 15 – Dec. 31

SPRINGFIELD, Mo.— Seventy-eight southwest Missouri grocery stores are teaming up with Ozarks Food Harvest to help Check Out Hunger across 28 counties during the 15th annual retail fundraiser, Nov. 15 through Dec. 31.

Check Out Hunger gives shoppers the opportunity to add a $1, $3 or $5 tax-free donation to their grocery bill when checking out at area retailers, including Akin's, Bistro Market, Country Mart, Dillons, Harter House, Hy-Vee, Murfin's Market, Price Cutter, Ramey, Save-A-Lot, Smitty's, Summer Fresh, Town & Country and Woods Supermarket.

Shoppers will find Check Out Hunger signs in the check-out lanes at their local grocery stores; when a shopper chooses to add a donation of choice to his or her grocery bill, the cashier simply scans the donation barcode and the donor signs an “apple” for display. The tax-free gift is added to the bill and appears on the receipt.

“Check Out Hunger is more important than ever this year, as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) participants saw their benefits cut the first of November, which puts a greater strain on the 200 U.S. food banks, like Ozarks Food Harvest,” said OFH Development Director Denise Gibson. “While the reductions may not seem like much, a family of four that qualifies for the maximum monthly benefit will lose $36 a month—which provides much more than you might think.”

The Food Bank serves 170,000 unduplicated individuals annually through 200 partner pantries and emergency food assistance sites it serves, in addition to OFH’s own direct-service programs. The 170,000 individuals represent 15 percent of Ozarks Food Harvest’s 28-county service who area considered “food insecure.” Nearly a quarter of those individuals are not qualified to receive federal assistance, putting an even greater burden on food banks and the pantries they serve.

Last year, Ozarks Food Harvest added 26 partners to the Check Out Hunger fundraiser which began in 1998. Those included retailers such as Hy-Vee, Harter House stores outside Springfield and several Town & Country and Country Mart stores—which added nearly 20 communities to the campaign now reaching more than 50 cities.

The 2012 fundraiser was record-breaking, collecting $35,000—the equivalent of 175,000 meals. Since 1998, the holiday campaign has collected $235,000 in donations—the equivalent of nearly 1.2 million meals.

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The following communities are participating in this 15th annual holiday fundraiser:

Aurora, Ava, Bolivar, Bourbon, Branson, Branson West, Buffalo, Cabool, Carthage, Cassville, Clever, Conway, Dixon, El Dorado Springs, Fair Grove, Forsyth, Gainesville, Granby, Greenfield, Hartville, Hollister, Houston, Joplin, Kimberling City, Lamar, Lebanon, Licking, Mansfield, Marionville, Marshfield, Monett, Mount Vernon, Mountain Grove, Mountain View, Neosho, Nevada, Nixa, Ozark, Purdy, Republic, Richland, Rolla, Salem, Seymour, Sparta, Springfield, St. James, Steelville, Stockton, Strafford, Waynesville, Webb City, West Plains, Willard and Willow Springs.

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