LAWTON, Okla._A celebration is coming soon as the Lawton Food Bank marks 30 years of service to the community at the end of August with a Blue Jean Ball and art auction.
The Lawton Food Bank has seen many changes over the decades, including a new facility that was built on South Sheridan Road in 2013. But the one thing that remains the same is the demand for help from local families in need.
Lawton Food Bank director Jeri Mosiman says over 30 years, they've helped feed thousands of hungry families and individuals. She says they've given people their Christmas and Thanksgiving Day dinners. But she says most importantly, they've given some of Lawton's residents hope and comfort in just knowing help is right around the corner.
Horace Wherry is just one of the many people who has been impacted by the Lawton Food Bank. Wherry comes to the Food Bank for juice and vegetables, and says over the years it's become a place he and others have come to depend on.
"I get so excited. There are certain things in here that I really, really need. This is a good place to come. There is no other place than this place here," Wherry said.
Mosiman says the number of families in our area that are in need of food, clothes and other day-to-day items many of us take for granted has grown, and that is exactly why she says she is here to help.
"I can't imagine anything worse than your child going to you and saying 'mommy I'm hungry,' but you have no food to give them. We've got to stop that," Mosiman said.
Mosiman says hitting the 30 year mark of serving those here in Lawton has been huge. She says it is all made possible because of the community support.
"It is so heartwarming. My family and I have lived here 26 years, so I am very proud to live in a community where everyone cares about their neighbors in need," Mosiman said.
Volunteers at the Lawton Food Bank are in awe of the anniversary. Lusica Hankins remembers being at the old location and moving into the new location. She says the years of growth shows just how important the Lawton Food Bank is to the community.
"When I first started, we fed perhaps 20, 25 families a day normally. We don't even see that anymore. Now a slow day is 50 families," Hankins explained.
Wherry says although things get tough, he knows where a door will be open.
"I can survive, I've been here 59 years and I know how to survive," Wherry said.
Mosiman says as exciting of a time as it is for them in celebrating 30 years, she wants everyone to remember that people here at home still have a great need. Last month, 1,100 families were fed. The goal is to help out in any way they can.
To celebrate the Food Bank's 30 years of service, and to raise money to help them serve for 30 more, a Blue Jean Ball and art auction will be held on August 29 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Lawton.
"Come with the idea you are going to have good time. Wear your blue jeans and some bling and have a great time," Mosiman said.