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Ham Stolen from Seniors' Holiday Dinner

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Lawton, Okla. _One Lawton group found themselves scrambling to put food on the table after someone took off with donated hams for their annual Christmas dinner.

Delta Nutrition has spent weeks preparing to feed some 300 senior citizens today at the H.C. King Center.

But all of that work was jeopardized Tuesday when two large hams came up missing as workers brought the food into the kitchen. But almost as quickly as they vanished, one of Santa's secret elves saved the day.

Delta Nutrition received three full hams right after the originals had been reported stolen.

That allowed them to serve as many people as needed for dinner today. But for a group that doesn't see a lot of donations or outside help with their senior meals, this turn of luck was nothing short of a modern Christmas miracle. And to top it all off, it came from the most unlikely source.

"Nothing surprises me anymore," says Lawton native Peggy Bauder.

Peggy has lived in Lawton nearly her whole life, and almost all of her favorite activities happen right here at the H.C. King Center that opens its doors to local seniors every day. But when Delta Nutrition's annual Christmas dinner was jeopardized by some poached pork, Bauder says she was disappointed.

"I have a full time job, but some of these people don't," she said. "And it might be the only meal they have."

Organizers echoed that fear when they realized their yuletide fixings were significantly slashed after low funds had already taken their toll.

"I was devastated. I mean, who in the world could do such a low act to take food from the seniors?" said Delta Nutrition site manager Heinz Kyle.

It was looking bleak for the group to meet their goal of feeding 300 seniors when the hams disappeared but at the last minute, Christmas was saved by an anonymous donor who sat in one of these seats everyday.

"When these people step forward, they step forward with an open heart. They really do," said Kyle. "It was just a wonderful gesture on his part."

What seemed like a simple gesture to a mystery man that touched lives all around him.

"Very blessed. Real blessed," said one patron.

"It helps everyone with their attitude and everything like that," said another patron.

"Well that doesn't surprise me either because I know the people here and they're generous even if they don't have a lot, they're generous. They're very generous.

Whoever they are, thank you!" said Bauder.

It's a great example of holiday giving right here at home. Delta Nutrition provides regular meals for seniors everyday at the center so that these folks can have at least one good meal a day. If you'd like to help them out any way you'd like, you can contact the H.C. King Center everyday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 581-3481.

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