We Are #417Strong

Look for the Helpers: Volume 4

Local individuals and organizations have made sure frontline workers are well fed as they work. These are just a few of countless local examples of giving, both big and small.

by Katie Pollock Estes

Apr 24 2020 at 8 a.m.

Pulled pork stock image
Photo courtesy ShutterstockPulled pork is just one of the many dishes being provided for essential workers in Springfield, MO.

Hillbilly Smokers, led by Farm 2 Counter’s Paul Allen, has been cooking hundreds of pounds of pulled pork, sides and more each week to hand out for free during their drive-through events each Friday in Springfield and each Wednesday in Branson. The effort is helped along thanks to numerous organizations including Flat Creek Restaurants donation of both food and cooking time, and Dove Creek Wagyu Cattle Co. donation of rice and beef jerky.

Throughout the past few weeks, Taylor and Andy Goessmann have been organizing an effort to bring tasty lunches from local restaurants to the people who are working to keep the rest of us stocked with groceries and care for local patients. They took community donations and brought meals to employees at places like Grove Pharmacy, Price Cutter, Harter House, Mercy Urgent Care, Cox Medical Center and more. The lunches were purchased from local businesses like The Pitch, Arris’ Pizza, Progress, Coyotes in Nixa and more. If you’d like to help out, donations are accepted online through a Paypal pool.

Restaurants and kind-hearted individuals have been donating big-time too. Last week, J.J. Romines even posted in a local Facebook group that he was opening up a $1,500 tab at The Big Slice specifically to feed front-line workers and first responders who could pop in for a free meal until the tab ran out. And on Easter, The Hill Italian Restaurant packed up 1,600 free meals for restaurant employees, unemployed individuals and hospitals workers. 

New and Changing Food Distribution

Just one of many local organizations helping ensure locals have filled pantries, The Salvation Army has switched its food pantry to a drive-through format during the COVID-19 outbreak, ensuring safe social distancing without foregoing access. 

The Drew Lewis Foundation was able to hand out hundreds of pre-packed grocery bags earlier this week at the Fairbanks Community Center thanks to a huge donation of fresh produce. 

A previous Look for the Helpers blog also mentioned the enormous efforts of Boys and Girls Clubs of Springfield (which hands out over 900 meals per day), Life 360 Church (which has turned one of its spaces into a grocery distribution spot) and Springfield Public Schools (which provides meals daily to any child 18 or younger via drive-through car line.