Midwest City Beacon readers and community partners dug deep to help those in need with the sixth annual holiday food drive.
The effort raised about 530 pounds of non-perishable food items that were delivered to the Mid-Del Food Pantry on Monday morning. The donations were valued at $769.20 and will provide 385 meals for families, according to food pantry staff.
In addition to the food donations, a reader made a $500 donation to the Mid-Del Food Pantry as part of the holiday food drive.
This year’s effort exceeded last year’s total collection by nearly 20%.
Donations were accepted at the Beacon office and Sooner State Bank branches in Midwest City and Spencer.
Jeff Harrison, managing editor, thanked everyone who helped with the food drive.
“This has been a challenging year for many people and we’re thrilled to see this type of support from our readers and community partners,” he said.
Newspaper employees started the food drive in 2015 after learning of the pantry’s needs for the holiday season. The first year, they raised food for 80 meals and saw that increase the following years.
Since 2015, the food drive has provided more than 1,300 meals.
The Mid-Del Food Pantry helps fight hunger in eastern Oklahoma County by providing food to over 150 families per week. The majority of those families are from Midwest City, Del City and Choctaw.
Mid-Del Food Pantry Director Mike Anderson said the needs grow during the holidays as families are stretched thin with holiday bills.
“There are just a lot more expenses and stresses for families in November and December and that puts more stress on the food pantry,” he said.
The Mid-Del Food Pantry relies on donations from people and local businesses. They receive regular donations of produce and canned goods from the local Walmart stores and Crest Foods in Midwest City. The pantry receives a limited amount of USDA commodities every month and buys other items from the Regional Food Bank or local stores.
The Mid-Del Food Pantry was formed in 1984 by a local ministerial alliance. The pantry is a 501c3 organization and is funded entirely by donations. It is an independent organization but is supported by many churches, civic groups and individuals.