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Ozarks Food Harvest - Making Donations Win-Win With Neighborhood Assistance Program Tax Credits

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Ozarks Food Harvest

P.O. Box 5746 Springfield, MO 65801-5746
Phone: (417) 865-3411
Fax: (417) 865-0504
Web: www.ozarksfoodharvest.org
Top Executives:
Bart Brown, President/CEO;
Denise Gibson, Director of Development
Year Founded: 1983
Number of employees: 31 FTE
Product or service: Ozarks Food Harvest is the only food bank in southwest Missouri, serving more than 300 hunger relief organizations across 28 Ozarks counties. The Food Bank reaches 20,000 individuals weekly and distributes 1 million pounds of food monthly. OFH was named the 2011 Small Business of the Year by the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce.
Today, 28.2 percent (71,780) of children in southwest Missouri face food insecurity. That’s five percent higher than the national rate, meaning more than one in four children don’t know where their next meal is coming from and may go to bed hungry. When you add that to the fact that food donations have slowed and there is a high demand for services, the situation is critical.

As the only food bank in southwest Missouri, Ozarks Food Harvest (OFH) is struggling to meet the rising need. In addition to several direct service programs, OFH provides food to a network of more than 300 agency partners such as food pantries, shelters, low-income daycares, domestic violence centers and more, across 28 counties in the Ozarks.

The need in the region is multi-faceted, with a steady increase in service requests, as many families are experiencing the effects of long-term unemployment and stalled economic recovery. Clients are also non-traditional, as the Hunger in America 2010 study reports, 25 percent of OFH clients were laid off in the past 24 months, and 25 percent of them were laid off from managerial or professional jobs.

There are also the thousands left displaced and unemployed after the Joplin tornado. While a number of OFH’s corporate donors responded generously to the Joplin crisis, that has resulted in fewer donations for the remaining area pantries in need. “While donations have dropped dramatically since the Joplin disaster, our food pantries and feeding sites’ efforts have increased significantly across southwest Missouri,” said Bart Brown, president/CEO at Ozarks Food Harvest.

Recognizing the current business and economic climate, OFH is making donations a win-win through Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP) tax credits. Credits are available to all companies and certain individuals, and equal up to 50% of the value of the contribution. The tax credits represent “coupons” that donors may redeem when they file their state tax return, and can be claimed against a variety of state taxes owed with a five-year carry-forward provision.

OFH currently has over $150,000 in available tax credits to be issued by March 2012. As the future of NAP is uncertain, it’s important to act now not only to help the increased need that OFH is facing, but also to take full advantage of the tax credit opportunity.

“Utilizing NAP tax credits maximizes the charitable gift and has a powerful impact on The Food Bank’s ability to Transform Hunger into Hope™,” Brown said. “These credits provide a powerful incentive to donors with the added benefit to The Food Bank and community to help care for those needing assistance.”

To learn more about the OFH tax credits, go to http://www.ozarksfoodharvest.org/nap.html.

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