SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- (11/09/2017) As a transitional living home for teen boys in the foster care system, Footsteps is constantly searching for ways to help their residents grow, and with the help of Ozarks Food Harvest Retail Pick-Up Program, Footsteps is able to offer their residents nutritious and healthy food options that are given free of charge to the organization.
"They're going to be aging out and on their own in the next couple years, so we want to get them set up with really healthy habits now, so that when they are on their own they know how to make good decisions for themselves about what they're eating," said Alissa Jecklin, the Program Coordinator at Footsteps Transitional Living.
The program helps to connect organizations like Footsteps to places across the Ozarks that are eager to donate food that would otherwise be thrown away.
"They all have rules for how long they can have the food on display, and instead of just throwing that all away, they're donating it through Ozarks Food Harvest to programs like us," said Jecklin.
With up to 20 teen boys in their program at one time, Footsteps said that food around the house goes very quickly. That's why their partnership with Ozarks Food Harvest is so important to them, because it provides food that they would normally have to pay for themselves.
Going through hundreds of pounds of food a week, the Retail Pick-Up Program alleviates Footsteps' burden of having to provide food for their residents.
"Sandwiches, we get corn dogs, egg rolls, cookies, salads, we also get eggs and milk at the store that they'll donate," said Jecklin.
Most importantly, however, the program allows Footsteps to focus their time and resources in other areas.
"It really frees up money in our budget to be able to do different things with the guys that we help."
While many businesses are already a part of the Retail Pick-Up Program, it continues to expand as Kum and Go has recently announced that they too will be donating their excess food to make sure those in the Ozarks don't go hungry.