LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - A semi-truck loaded down with food and toiletries came caravanning through town Tuesday, delivering care packages to hundreds of families. Feed the Children's Summer Caravan initiative helps feed families across the nation. Tuesday afternoon, 400 low-income Lawton families received 25 pounds of food and boxes of toiletries. With the help of volunteers from the Association of the United States Army, around 12-hundred boxes were handed out in two hours.
The families walked back to their cars with the volunteers helping them load up the boxes with smiles on their faces. Alexandra Lopez, who picked up her boxes, was eager to take a children's book she received back home to her daughter. Even though her daughter isn't old enough to understand why, she says just having the chance to give her daughter something she loves that she couldn't before, is enough.
Lopez says she didn't know what to expect at the Feed the Children food caravan stop Tuesday.
"I really didn't think there would be that many people here to help as a community, and helping other families," said Lopez. "It's a wonderful feeling to be able to see Lawton families come out and help with other families in need."
She leaves knowing that volunteers in the community and Feed the Children care if her family has enough of what they need.
"It was actually a surprise," laughed Lopez.
Lopez, like many other families, were recommended before getting a special voucher to come to this event.
Director of Southwest Oklahoma Continuum of Care Jervis Jackson says different agencies like the Lawton Housing Authority and the Lawton Food Bank help identify those families who would benefit the most.
"Most of them work hard," said Jackson. "Just at the end of the week, the end of the month, there is just not enough paycheck left to fill that gap between what they have and what they actually need."
Feed the Children CEO J.C. Watts, who was the US representative for the district Lawton is in until 2003, says they were here to fill that gap.
"There really are people in Comanche County and McIntosh County, every county in America that people wake up every day thinking where will my next meal come from," said Watts.
Watts was recently named CEO this year. He pushed for this program to grow in his home state.
"I wanted to make sure as Oklahomans that we were sensitive and conscious of trying to help our neighbors in Oklahoma and families in Oklahoma," said Watts.
Watts says he has seen people having to choose between eating that day or buying soap.
"That's a real choice for many people for whatever reason," said Watts. "We're not here to talk about why they are there. We are here to talk about the community of Lawton has said we want to help."
Nothing that was on that truck will leave the county unclaimed. If there are any boxes left, they will be donated to local organizations, the food boxes to the food bank and the toiletries to the family service center.
Families who were out there also got information on organizations that can lend them a hand, long after the Feed the Children caravan leaves.