The concept behind Crosslines originated when a small interdenominational group saw the need for churches to get involved with finding solutions to poverty. At the same time, the Council of Churches of the Ozarks was established with a mission to “serve God’s people in need” through a food pantry. This partnership has provided Crosslines with the strong volunteer base needed to assist distressed families and individuals in the community with help with groceries and other necessary items. The Council of Churches has since expanded to support the community through a variety of services, and Crosslines has thrived in the partnership.
Crosslines opened on March 24, 1969 at the Locust and Lyon Community Center. In the beginning, five volunteers allowed Crosslines to open its doors five days a week. Area churches, called “fish churches,” accepted the responsibility to provide food, clothing, and volunteers on a regular basis. At the start, Crosslines volunteers served four or five families a day; in 1993 that number rose to about 73 families a day; now in 2016 Crosslines is serving approximately 100 families a day, five days a week. For 46 years, Crosslines has been providing emergency food assistance to families in Greene County and continues to expand the service footprint beyond pantry and into the community and area schools through the mobile distribution.
Growing Our Pantry
Crosslines offers extended services during the holiday season. Since 1979, Crosslines has been providing holiday food baskets to those in need. Our Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets provide help with groceries for a traditional holiday. In 1983, the Toystore was introduced. The Toystore provides 18,000 brand-new toys for children in Greene County who may not receive anything on Christmas. Crosslines also arranges Adopt-a-Family programs in partnership with the Springfield News-Leader, KTTS, the Elks Lodge, and Bass Pro, and other community partners.
In the spring of 2011, Crosslines adopted a client-choice model for the pantry. Clients would have the option to select items that meet the preferences and needs of their families. With a volunteer shopper, our clients take a cart through our pantry like a grocery store to select from different options of canned and boxed food as well as produce, meats, breads, and other perishables. The client-choice model ensures our clients receive items they can use and our pantry food doesn’t go to waste.
Mobile Food Distribution
Our Mobile Food Pantry serves low-income housing complexes in Springfield and rural areas like Fair Grove, Walnut Grove, and Republic seasonally with help with groceries and other necessary items. We also partner with Springfield Public Schools to bring monthly distributions to selected schools. Each family receives a box with canned goods, peanut butter and jelly, crackers, tuna, cereal, a skillet dinner, Jell-O mix, and mac & cheese. Families also receive milk, bread, and fresh produce. In 2016, we served 12,984 people through the Mobile Food Pantry program.