The CAM food pantries in Branson and Forsyth are two of the 300 local food pantries served by our regional food bank, Ozarks Food Harvest. Through this food bank, CAM is able to purchase quantities of food at reduced pricing due to the national corporate donors to the food bank. Additionally the food bank also distributes the monthly federal commodities to the member pantries.

In recent weeks Ozark Food Harvest has sent over 100 semi-truckloads of food to the recovery effort in Joplin, and continue to send 15 truckloads per week. This has obviously put additional stress on the food bank’s ability to service the 300 local food pantries, including CAM. In the interim, these food pantries also continue to experience spikes in demand due to the economy and due to people relocating from the Joplin area. Additionally, according to Ozarks Food Harvest, corporate donations are down as major contributors have earmarked good for Joplin as well.

Taney County residents, businesses, and organizations fully support the efforts to assist our neighbors in Joplin during this time of dire need. However, over 1,000 families per month in Taney County are also turning to CAM for help in keeping food on the table for their families.

According to CAM Director Pat Davis, “Our commodities order for this month has been reduced to three items, and even those are less than normal. With this continuing level of demand and reduced assistance from the food bank, CAM has to spend substantially more money to purchase food to serve the needs of our county residents. This is putting considerably extra stress on our budget and we really need the community to rally around in support of CAM. After all, CAM has always been about neighbors helping neighbors.”

CAM Board Chairman Jack Burke identified several ways that the community can help CAM at this point in time:

• Support CAM’s upcoming 3rd Annual Gospel Sing-Off fundraiser at Sight & Sound Theatre on September 4th by becoming a sponsor for the event and by purchasing tickets to attend the Sing-Off.
• Commit to a regular monthly donation to CAM.
• Make a singular donation to CAM.
• Conduct a food drive for CAM.
• Make a personal food donation.
• Support CAM with your prayers.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nearly 15 percent of American households, or more than 17 million people, didn’t have enough food to eat at some point in 2009. That’s the highest figure since the USDA began gathering data in the 1990s.
Looking at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s food insecurity list Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, rank among the top 11. Food insecurity is defined as lacking consistent access to adequate amounts of nutritious food.

People seeking help at CAM are provided a 3-day supply of nutritional food items for each member of their family. Selections are based on the federal nutritional food pyramid and special needs of individuals. In addition to the two food pantries, CAM operates a mobile outreach program to eastern Taney County communities, and due to a grant also operates bi-monthly food drops in Forsyth.

For more information, contact the CAM offices at 417-334-1157 or visit

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