Thursday, December 10, 2015

'Merry Christmas' Distributed with Food at Mobile Pantry

“Merry Christmas!” was heard often Thursday when KIBOIS Community Action Foundation gave away thousands of pounds of food in Sallisaw at the foundation’s monthly mobile food pantry.

Melissa Lowe, KIBOIS Sequoyah County coordinator, said the foundation, in cooperation with the Tulsa Food Bank, gives away food every month to about 125 families in need. This month the food giveaway was in Sallisaw. Next month the foundation will be at Nicut, followed by Muldrow and Roland.

Food was distributed from 11 a.m. until noon Thursday in Sallisaw, and included white and sweet potatoes, onions, cabbage, juice, coffee, apples, fruit juices, bakery items and even children’s shoes donated by The Journey Church.

Lowe is assisted by volunteers from Trinity United Methodist Church in Muldrow, the Sequoyah County Sheriff’s Office and others who just want to help their communities.

Martha Johnson from Trinity United Methodist Church, said, “We’re retired. This keeps us out of trouble and we help people. It’s pure chaos, and we’re exhausted when we’re done. But it’s worth it.”

Lowe sets up the food distribution sort of as an assembly line. The receivers line up in their vehicles, sometimes two families to a vehicle, and drive through the line. A volunteer at the head of the line signals to Lowe how many are to receive food in each vehicle, one or two families. Some families, Johnson explained, have no transportation, and arrive with other families.

When told how many families are in each vehicle, Lowe calls out “One or Two,” and the volunteers rush to deliver the foods, enough for one or two families. In this way, thousands of pounds of food are delivered within just an hour.

Lowe explained those who find themselves in need of food call her office and are given a ticket for the food distribution. Only 125 tickets are given out for each site, and only one ticket is given to each household.

Lowe said, “We pass out whatever the food bank brings, and there’s never anything left.”

And this month, to go along with the food, each family got a very merry “Merry Christmas” greeting along with their groceries.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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