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25th annual Check Out Hunger campaign collects nearly $48K for hunger relief


More than 60 local grocers partnered with Ozarks Food Harvest for the 25th annual Check Out Hunger campaign, raising nearly $48,000 from customer donations to provide more than 142,000 meals across the Ozarks. 

The fundraiser wrapped up at the end of December, but The Food Bank received checks from grocers through February. Charitable donations tend to drop after the holidays, which makes this an ideal time for Ozarks Food Harvest to receive a financial boost, said organization officials.

“Families across the Ozarks are facing a perfect storm of increased childcare, housing and food costs,” said Jordan Browning, director of communications at Ozarks Food Harvest. “Donations from our Check Out Hunger campaign have come at a perfect time to help us feed more families facing hunger.” 

Check Out Hunger gives shoppers the opportunity to add a $1, $3 or $5 tax-free donation to their grocery bill at the register of participating retailers during the holiday season. Participating grocers include Apple Market, Country Mart, Harter House, King Cash Saver, King Food Saver, Price Cutter, Ramey, Rhodes Family Price Chopper, Town & Country Supermarket and Woods Supermarket.

Harter House stores in Hollister, Kimberling City, Nixa, Springfield and Strafford have been major contributors to The Food Bank’s Check Out Hunger campaign since 2008. In that time, they have helped provide more than 590,000 meals for children, families and seniors across southwest Missouri.

In West Plains, Ramey is also a longtime participant; with its fellow Pyramid Foods stores, including Country Mart, King Cash Saver and Price Cutter, more than 1.1 million meals have been supported.

“This is an amazing opportunity to make a difference in our community, especially as many families across southwest Missouri continue to face hunger,” Andrew Bettlach, owner of two Harter House grocery stores, said. “We’re happy to partner with Ozarks Food Harvest for their annual Check Out Hunger campaign every year to help raise awareness.” 

Since 1998, the Check Out Hunger campaign has raised more than $810,000 to help provide more than 3.6 million meals to The Food Bank’s network of 270 faith-based and community charities.