Operation Food Search honors retirement of executive director

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Operation Food Search (OFS), a nonprofit hunger relief organization, recently honored longtime Executive Director Sunny Schaefer for her 22 years of service.

Schaefer began her tenure at OFS as a volunteer interim Executive Director in 1996. At that time, the agency had a $400,000 budget and distributed 11 million pounds of food. Today OFS has a fiscal operating budget of $37 million and distributes three million pounds of food each month.

Lisa Pelikan, Chairperson of Operation Food Search’s Board of Directors, served as hostess for the retirement party. More than 200 guests attended the celebration that included themed food stations, as well as farewell video tributes from friends, supporters, board members, and staff.


Schaefer created many partnerships and fundraising campaigns during her more than two decades of leadership. Highlights include April Showers, a partnership with the Girl Scout Council of Eastern Missouri; Warners’ Warm Up, founded by football quarterback Kurt Warner and his wife Brenda; hands-on nutrition education classes called Cooking Matters; Operation Backpack, a weekend meal program; and Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) funded by the USDA.

Founded in 1981, OFS is a hunger relief organization that provides food and nutrition education. With a strategic focus aimed at ending childhood hunger, OFS empowers families with a range of programs and services proven to reduce food insecurity and increase access to healthy and affordable food. The agency helps feed more than 200,000 individuals on a monthly basis – one-third of which are children – through a network of 330 community partners in 31 Missouri and Illinois counties.

Operation Food Search is located at 1644 Lotsie Blvd. For more information, call (314) 726-5355 or visit www.OperationFoodSearch.org.