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Fundraiser to launch for local food pantries

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Funds 4 Food, a community-wide fundraising campaign administered by Lebanon Area Foundation, will launch this Monday. The goal is to raise a minimum of $15,000 by May 30 to help stock Lebanon food pantries. Debbie Moore, one of the organizers, said the campaign began after Lebanon Mayor Jared Carr requested help in organizing a food drive to help Lebanon food pantries during the COVID-19 crisis. "As soon as we realized that Lebanon food pantries were experiencing a huge increase in people needing food, we decided to take action," Moore said. The group reached out to Lebanon Area Foundation to coordinate how best to help the food pantries meet the increased demand in food. Melinda Fries of Lebanon Area Foundation said they sent out a survey to area nonprofits with food pantries that receive help from Ozarks Food Harvest. "The feedback was clear," Fries said. "The food pantries are overwhelmed with requests for more food, and they desperately need more funds to purchase food.” Lebanon food pantries need funds to stock their shelves with food – as more Lebanon area residents experience hardships because of the reduction in work hours and loss of jobs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, Fries said. Organizers of the FUNDS 4 FOOD campaign developed goals and strategies to maximize the purchase of food in order to feed the increased need.

FUNDS 4 FOOD’s immediate goal is to raise a minimum of $5000 by April 30 and $15,000 by May 30. As donations for FUNDS 4 FOOD are collected, they will be deposited into four Ozarks Food Harvest accounts designated for Crosslines, L-Life Food Pantry, LifePoint Church Food Pantry and The Salvation Army of Lebanon. Ozarks Food Harvest enables member food pantries to purchase more food per dollar than other sources. At Ozarks Food Harvest, $20 will provide 80 meals, $100 will provide 400 meals, $1,000 will provide 4,000 meals, and $15,000 will provide 60,000 meals. Moore said she is confident that the Lebanon community will come together in these challenging times. “People in our town have a long history of helping their neighbors through tough times," she said. "Groups like Kiwanis, Lions, Optimist, and Rotary have remarkable projects for kids and folks who need some help. FUNDS 4 FOOD is a great opportunity for civic clubs, churches, fraternal organizations, and individuals to literally put food on the table for thousands of our neighbors.” There are multiple drive thru locations around Lebanon that have volunteered as drop-off locations for donations. Cash and check donations to support FUNDS 4 FOOD may be dropped off at First State Community Bank, Heritage Bank of the Ozarks, Mid Missouri Bank and Lebanon City Hall. Online donations can be made by going to the FUNDS 4 FOOD Facebook page through their Facebook fundraiser starting on Monday, April 13. Fries said the Facebook fundraiser does not charge fees, so 100 percent of every donation will go toward food. Checks can be mailed to Lebanon Area Foundation payable to LAF – FUNDS 4 FOOD, PO Box 1042, Lebanon, MO 65536. All donations are tax-deductible. For more information, contact Melinda Fries at 532-8868 or email mfries@LAFcares.org.

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