Healthy food is needed by all, but not everyone can afford items they need.
To help people in the Ozarks obtain food that is low in sugar, salt and fat, CoxHealth's 8th annual Pack the Pantries healthy food drive is now underway. It runs through September 30, and the community is invited to participate.
Donations collected during this year’s drive benefit a variety of charities. In Branson, they go to Christian Action Ministries; in Monett, to Monett Community Kitchen and Crosslines; and in Lamar, to Good Samaritan and First Christian Church in Golden City.
In Springfield, donations go to Crosslines, but ultimately benefit patients at CoxHealth’s Family Medical Care Center. Physicians at the clinic are now able to diagnose patients with food insecurity and write them a “prescription” that may be redeemed at Crosslines for healthy food.
“Unfortunately, food insecurity is a huge issue across the Ozarks,” says Tom Faulkner, director of Crosslines. “We are very grateful for this community’s support. Every single item donated makes a difference for people who often don’t have enough to eat, especially when they are on a restricted diet due to health.”
Some suggested items include no-sugar-added applesauce, 100-percent-fruit cups, low-sodium or no-salt-added canned vegetables, reduced-sodium spaghetti sauce, tomato paste, brown rice, whole-wheat noodles, canned chicken and dried beans.
In Springfield, public donation bins are located at Cox South’s north and West Pavilion entrances, at Meyer Orthopedic and Rehabilitation Hospital’s west entrance, and at Cox North’s outpatient entrance. A dedicated drop-day will also be held in Springfield on Sept. 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., when Crosslines trucks will collect donations at the hospitals.
In Branson, bins are near the cafeteria. In Monett, items may be taken to the information desk; in Barton County, they are collected in individual departments.