Because of the generosity of local residents, nearly 20,000 pounds of food — enough to help feed 150 families for eight months — has been collected to serve the Shawnee community.
On May 11, letter carriers worked to “Stamp Out Hunger” by collecting non-perishable food items from residents on their route as part of the annual food drive.
Royce Thompson, a Shawnee letter carrier who was the coordinator of the food drive, said the preliminary numbers show 19,674 pound were collected in Shawnee, with all of it going to Mission Shawnee, a Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma partner, for distribution.
Letter carriers are picking up final sacks on their mail routes this week, he said, so the numbers will go up some.
“We will bust our 20,000-pound mark,” Thompson said, adding that’s about the normal collections each year.
Nearly 20,000 pounds of food has created a “mountain” at the Mission Shawnee pantry, Thompson said, where organizers are working to get it all sorted and stocked.
Martin Abbott, who is director of ministries at Mission Shawnee, said the food drive provides more variety than what they are accustomed to having and also will go a long way toward helping feed the hungry in the Shawnee community.
“We’re happy for the volume — there’s a better selection of stuff we normally couldn’t afford,” Abbott said. Mission Shawnee normally assists 150 to 160 families each month.
“That amount of food can benefit the program up to eight months,” Abbott said. “It really helps us…the Lord really provides.”
Abbot said the work during the letter carriers drive also provides more volunteers.
With the economy, Abbott said they’re not seeing more families apply for help than usual, but the families needing help have more members in the household, as families are living together in these tough times. He said it’s not uncommon for a household having numerous adults and children.
In this area’s four-town region, which includes Shawnee, Tecumseh, Seminole and Wewoka, Thompson said they anticipate a total of about 45,000 pounds being collected from the drive, with food from each community staying in the area where it was collected.
“We’re real pleased with the numbers,” Thompson said. “I want to thank he community and volunteers.”
Abbott said he’s appreciative to the letter carriers for making Mission Shawnee the recipient of the collected items and said it will help reach the hungry in the Shawnee community.
While this annual drive benefits Mission Shawnee, the organization takes food and monetary donations year round toward the cause.
Page 2 of 2 - Mission Shawnee is located at 127 S. Center in Shawnee, Okla, 74801. Hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday at Friday from noon to 5 p.m. Those seeking assistance with food are asked to make an appointment by calling Mission Shawnee at 273-2248.