JOMO Restaurant Week donates 3,615 pounds of food to Crosslines Ministries

Representatives of the twenty restaurants that participated in last week's JoMo Restaurant Week took time out to pose for a photo after donating more than 3,600 pounds of food to Crosslines Ministries in Joplin on Monday. Courtesy | Rikki Smith

Monday was one of the busiest mornings at Crosslines Ministries Joplin that Rikki Smith, assistant director, can remember.

That's because all 20 restaurants that participated in the recently wrapped JOMO Restaurant Week showed up to drop off their donated food items to the pantry.

"Some came in their catering vans; some showed up in pickup trucks with the beds full of food," Smith said. "This group of people — they were so excited themselves to be part of this effort."

A total of 3,615 pounds of food and $90 in cash donations was collected during this year's second JOMO Restaurant Week, which was staged last week. During that period, visitors took a nonperishable food item to donate to a participating restaurant and received the chance to enjoy a special or discount.

All of the donated food and cash has been given to Crosslines Ministries’ emergency food program, which distributes food to families in the group's geographic area that meet financial guidelines.

"It certainly helps us make sure that we will get nutritious meals in families' homes," Smith said.

Coordinator Erryn Jones said she almost couldn't believe that the event — the second in a year — had garnered more in donations than expected. Crosslines had received about 2,600 pounds of food during the first JOMO Restaurant Week event in January, she said.

"I absolutely would consider it a success," she said. "I'm just really blown away, honestly. The generosity from the people of Joplin and each of the restaurants, they all stepped up with unbelievable discounts and specials."

Smith said she was grateful for people's participation in the event.

"It got people out and thinking about the hungry in our community, but it also helped (participating) businesses," she said. "Even more than that, a couple of the restaurants said this morning that they were so humbled by the outpouring of support, and they were so thankful to give back to the community."

Jones said she hopes JOMO Restaurant Week will continue to be held each year in January and in August, which are two times of the year that Crosslines Ministries particularly needs food donations. She said more participating restaurants could be added to the lineup in the future.

In addition to the collected food donations, Megan Garcia was named the winner of Restaurant Week's grand prize, a $20 gift card to each of the 20 participating restaurants.

Upcoming

"Joplin Voices," a comedy performance featuring Michael Kelly, is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday in the chapel at Ozark Christian College. Tickets are $10 and are available at the door or online at JoplinVoices.com. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Proceeds will benefit Crosslines Ministries, House of Hope, Mission Joplin and Watered Gardens Gospel Rescue Mission.

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Emily Younker is the managing editor at the Joplin Globe, where she has worked since 2009. Contact: eyounker@joplinglobe.com.