According to the non-profit Feeding America there were 38 million people living in poverty across the United States in 2019. 37 million of those people also struggle with hunger and 11 million of those are children. Also, children are the most vulnerable group of Americans to face food insecurity. Locally, Crosslines Pantry in Joplin collects food donations from residents, local businesses and religious organizations and that serve 220 families on a monthly basis.
In an effort to raise awareness of food insecurity, while also providing non-perishable can food products to local residents through Crosslines and supporting local businesses Jomo Restaurant Week was established in 2015. KRPS’s Fred Fletcher-Fierro recently spoke with Monica Burlingame of Crosslines Pantry who says that the Jomo Restaurant Week was originally created as a way to increase the amount of donations during a traditionally slow month after the busy holiday season.
The months of November and December are two of the busiest for food donations at Crosslines and as the calendar changes to the new year the amount of donations tapers off. According to Monica, donations reach a peak during the holiday season but the need from the community also climbs to its highest levels during those months also.
Taking part in JOMO Restaurant week is easy. You bring non perishable canned food items with you when you visit participating local businesses or restaurants. In return for your donation will they provide a discount or specials and you’ll be able to enter a drawing for 1 of 30 $25 gift cards from one of the 30 local businesses that are participating.
In 2019 JOMO Restaurant Week took in 3 tons of non-perishable canned food goods that were directly donated to Crosslines Pantry and assisted residents of SW Missouri. This year the organization has set a goal of 4-tons. The need for food donations to help struggling families is a year around effort and events like JOMO RW highlight just how vulnerable local families are to being hungry.