Once a month, on Friday’s from 9 a.m.- 1 p.m. there is a line that forms behind Central Bank in Marshfield; sometimes even overflowing on to the Spur. The car “conga” line, that is hard to miss, is a representation of the Destiny Church’s Wheel Fed Mobile Food Distribution event.
“It’s been about 18 months (since we started). It was originally Bread of Life at Marshfield Christian. It was transferred to us here at Destiny in January of 2021,” explained Ashton Hohensee, Director of Wheel Fed. “Our Pastor was approached by the Director of the Christian church. From what I understand…the logistics of their location was blocking the highway,” added Becky Dobbs, who is in-charge of Food Ordering for Wheel Fed.
Wheel Fed is a food commodity distribution that operates in conjunction with Ozarks Food Harvest to provide families in need with food. “We have Wheel Fed day, which is basically a mobile food distribution once per month. We also have our emergency food pantry that can be utilized anytime of the month,” explained Hohensee. “The actual day (second Friday of every month) is considered a mobile food distribution. We are outdoors, they don’t have to come in, they check in (from the car line) and we load into their vehicles.”
“We serve approximately 275 families per month, which breaks down to about 600-650 individuals,” shared Hohensee. With rising food costs, an expansion to the income guidelines that now allows more families to access food commodities and a steady increase in families served each month, the Wheel Fed committee knew it needed to look for more ways to fund their efforts.
“We recently applied for a grant from Ozark Food Harvest,” explained Dobbs. “It was available to over 300 people,” added Candie McCormick, Food Pantry Manager. “They gave us guidelines of what we could and could not ask for. I wrote the grant with input from this committee and our pastor on things that we really needed. We heard back about three weeks ago and for the most part we got everything we asked for.” Dobbs shared with a smile.
“We asked for a new industrial refrigerator, outdoor storage shed, new shelving, five more wagons that we use for distribution, and $20,000 to purchase food. We got all the items we asked for and $15,000 for food,” explained Hohensee. “We are not receiving as much food as we were in the last six months…We are not receiving much meat. We are having to purchase meat to have it there for distribution. Before,…the government was sending plenty of meat, we don’t get hardly any meat from them now.”
“The challenge is not knowing from month-to-month what we will be receiving,” explained Dobbs. “Even when we get a list of what we are expected to receive, sometimes shipping problems happen. Our truck will come and some of the items aren’t available.” The distribution truck arrives the morning of food distribution, with volunteers on site ready to unload and pack it into the hundreds of waiting cars. “We do the best we can,” reflected Hohensee when asked how they prepare for the truck and knowing it may be missing items they ordered for the distribution.
The grant from Ozark’s Food Harvest will help purchase food for distribution days. To supplement the food from USDA, Wheel Fed works with local businesses to provide food. “We have had donations from Zimmerman’s Meat, people that give cash/check donations, Wal-Mart gives us donations twice a month,” shared Hohensee. “Thankfully, so far everything has worked out for us to get meat every month.”
Cash or check donations can be made to Wheel Fed either through the church or to one of the volunteers. For more information you can leave a message at 417-501-5691 and a Wheel Fed volunteer will return your call.
“We have about 30-40 regular volunteers,” shared Hohensee. “We would be very welcoming to anybody who wants to help us on our Fridays. It’s hard work. We need people to unload the truck, people to help distribute the food, clean up and load cars. There’s lots of jobs. If anybody is interested they can come between 9:00 a.m. or 1:00 p.m. on distribution days,” offered Dobbs. Interested in volunteering but have kids at home? “Kids are more than welcome to help. We have childcare for kids 5 and under. We have jobs for everyone,” added Hohensee.
“It’s a very rewarding ministry,” reflected Dobbs. “We are just so grateful that they (Ozarks Food Harvest) are there and able to help us provide for the people and needs in this community,” added McCormick. “We have been very blessed with our community and them being involved and with donations. Anytime we need something it always gets resolved and found. Our community is amazing,” reflected Hohensee.
Wheel Fed distribution is available to anyone in Webster County that fits in the income guidelines or is currently receiving government assistance of (almost) any kind. Wheel Fed distributions are on the second Friday of every month from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Cars can use the utility road that goes behind Central Bank to line up, follow the signs and look for volunteers directing traffic.
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