Operation Food Search (OFS) recently announced surpassing its original $5 million benchmark for the Sunny Day Endowment. To date the campaign has raised $5.6 million on behalf of its namesake, Sunny Schaefer, a hunger relief pioneer who served as OFS’s executive director for more than two decades. The initiative will continue to accept donations through the end of this year, which currently marks the 40th anniversary of OFS.
The Sunny Day Endowment was established to provide a reliable source of income in perpetuity, ensuring all children and families could lead healthier lives both now and for generations to come. Schaefer’s dream – to create a hunger-free region – focused on promoting equity and discovering solutions in response to the area’s food system challenges. The initiative was designed to further assist OFS’s work, which focuses on the root causes perpetuating the vicious cycle of malnutrition and hunger that adversely impact the St. Louis region.
For the past four decades, OFS has grown thanks to the community’s support. OFS once had a $400,000 operating budget and distributed 11 million pounds of food per year. Today it has a $37 million operating budget and distributes three million pounds of food per month.
“We have seen firsthand how the pandemic has highlighted the disparities among certain communities that are even more vulnerable during times of crisis,” said OFS President and CEO Kristen Wild. “This campaign – which allows us to embrace sustainability and ensure ongoing commitment to those who need it most – will raise the essential funds we need to bring about future change with our underlying systems.”
Founded in 1981, Operation Food Search (OFS) is a hunger relief organization located at 1644 Lotsie Blvd. that provides free food, nutrition education and innovative programs proven to reduce food insecurity. With a strategic focus aimed at ending childhood hunger, OFS empowers families and increases access to healthy and affordable food. The agency provides food and services to 200,000 individuals monthly – one-third of whom are children – through a network of 330 community partners in 27 Missouri and Illinois counties and the city of St. Louis. For more information, call (314) 726-5355.