Operation Food Search (OFS), a St. Louis, Mo.-based food bank, became a Good360 Community Redistribution Partner (CRP) in 2011. The nonprofit has been distributing food free of charge for more than 31 years. Each month OFS feeds more than 150,000 people, distributing more than 2 million pounds of food and necessities to 265 food pantries, soup kitchens and homeless shelter in 31 counties in Missouri and Illinois.
“During today’s challenging economic climate, when the number of people served has risen 30 percent in just two years, the community relies more than ever on Operation Food Search to identify and distribute local resources in order to meet the increased demand for basic sustenance,” said Sunny L. Schaefer, OFS executive director. “The household items we receive from Good360 help us achieve our mission of providing the basic necessities for people struggling to make ends meet.”
Since joining the Good360 network, the organization has received household items such as cookware and bedding, paper products such as diapers and paper towels and personal care items. As a CRP, OFS requests truckload size donations and breaks them down for distribution to the smaller organizations they serve. Since becoming a CRP, they've distributed more than 20 truckloads of donated goods.
“Clients of our agencies are thrilled to get something as simple as toilet paper or diapers, costly items that food stamps do not cover,” said Schaefer. “So many people struggling with poverty have to make difficult choices of buying these items or sacrificing important things such as medical appointments, childcare, utilities and even food.”
OFS provides a wide range of services for the community, including a hunger hotline that provides 24/7 guidance on where to get food, free classes and advice from registered dieticians on nutrition and healthy cooking and a backpack program that serves more than 3,000 children each week.
In the St. Louis community, one in eight struggle with poverty and hunger, according to Schaefer.
“Although our main mission is to provide food and nutrition education, we know that people also cannot afford basic necessities like those items provided by Good360,” she said. “Please know that Good360 provides hope for these struggling families and the knowledge that someone cares and that they are not alone.”