Oklahoma City outreach helps feed local families and their pets
OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The pandemic has been going on for almost two years now, and its effects are being felt directly here in Oklahoma. Many residents, who struggle to meet their bills and even feed their families. But fortunately, community partners have mobilized to meet this need.
St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, along with the regional food bank and the Pet Food Pantry, have fed hundreds of Oklahomians and their pets every week since the start of the pandemic. Despite this long period of donations, the need has not diminished.
“We have cars starting to line up about two hours before we even start our stop because they know we’ll be here,” said Candice Hillenbrand, director of missionary engagement at St. Luke.
The line winds through the Oklahoma City neighborhood, waiting for community partners to distribute much-needed food.
“We would probably serve around 200 cars and around 1,200 people,” Hillenbrand said. “So people of all ages, old people, children and adults. “
But not everyone shows up by car. Royce Archer lives nearby, just close enough to walk.
One day he noticed the line and was relieved to find out what it was for. It was a boon to his family as the pandemic had made it difficult for them to make ends meet.
“I don’t know how we would get there,” Archer said. ” That helps. “
Archer is one of the many people who also buy pet food. This additional resource is provided by the Pet Food Pantry.
“There are a lot of people who, because they don’t want to be alone, will feed their pets before themselves,” said Candace Beaty, executive director of OKC’s Pet Food Pantry. “So it’s important for us to make sure that all food insecurities are taken care of. “
The mission is made possible by volunteers, many of whom are members of St. Luke’s. For a woman, who also works at the Regional Food Bank, this work reminds her of the importance of the agency’s work.
“Sometimes you have to walk away from your desk and really see these long lines and see the gratitude that these people have, and it reassures me every day of why I come to work every day,” Deven said. Vernon, St. Luke’s volunteer and employee of the Regional Food Bank.
To find out more about Hunger Action Month or how to donate, visit Oklahoma Regional Food Bank website.
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