By Debby Woodin
People don’t have to give the shirts off their back to fight hunger in Southwest Missouri.
Now, people can wear the shirt.
Panera Bread has teamed up with Five Pound Apparel in Springfield to help support the children’s feeding programs of Ozarks Food Harvest by selling $20 T-shirts. All of the money raised from the sales is donated to the pantry’s food programs for children.
The harvest distributes food to 250 nonprofits in 28 counties in southern and central parts of Missouri. It also supplies several programs for children who otherwise would be deprived of food.
Janet Parker, community relations manager for Panera, said that Five Pound Apparel will donate the proceeds from the sale of specially-designed T-shirts to the pantry to help fund children’s feeding programs, such as after-school meals and weekend backpacks. It’s an initiative called “Wearing Out Hunger.”
The restaurant chain has been helping Ozarks Food Harvest provide weekend backpacks of food for children with it’s “Second Friday” program. Panera already donates to that program by giving a portion of the sales of designated items on the second Friday of each month.
With the “Wearing Out Hunger” campaign, each T-shirt sold will provide 36 meals for children.
Parker said the promotion likely will be extended into March to try to get as many donations as they can.
Lindsey Neddenriep, of Ozarks Food Harvest, said Panera last year raised $6,000 to support the backpack program. She said it costs $300 to provide food to one child for a year.
“We are now reaching 1,200 kids through that program specifically,” she said.
The backpack and after-school feeding programs are in addition to the pantry’s main mission of supplying 250 nonprofit organizations in 28 counties with food and helping with disaster relief.
Ozarks Food Harvest distributed 3 million pounds of food and supplies worth $5 million to Joplin after the 2011 tornado, she said.
The children’s feeding programs are provided to 27 schools in the 28 counties it serves, including one in Joplin and two in Carthage, Neddenriep said.
To make a donation, go to 5poundapparel.com/ofh.