Jackson County_It's being called the largest food drive in Oklahoma history. The state Department of Human Services and "Feed the Children" teamed up for the "Make a Difference - Feed Oklahoma" campaign, which is doing exactly as it says - feed the states hungry.
Thursday the trucks rolled into Jackson and Stephens Counties - and none too soon for Jackson County. The Altus Community Services and Cupboard reports the need for help more than doubled in the last three years. And, for every dollar given by each community, Feed the Children matched it in food value.
The first of two truckloads was a welcome sight. Jackson County has hit an all time high with those who need help from the Community Cupboard. Volunteers unloaded boxes of baby supplies, personal hygiene products and food - lots of food. Stephens County football players were on hand to help unload.
Mary Whitman coordinates the Community Cupboard and says they're now being asked to fill more than twice the number of food baskets than they had three years ago. Altus is a small town. And, yet, about 500 people sign up for help every month. "They depend on us," she says. "It's sad to see because I see the people that come in."
DHS Director Rick Steen sees the same problem. He says more and more people can't survive without the help of food stamps. "We've got a lot of hard working people - both parents are working - they are just not making it," he says. As a result, that's why Oklahoma DHS has its mission, to provide for those needs. We continue to loose population because we just don't have the economic base here," says Steen. "And our wages are not keeping up. And, that's creating more and more people that need a helping hand to get by."
The Jackson County community raised around $8,000 for the cause. With "Feed the Children" matching the donation, the total was almost $100,000 worth of food and household supplies - seeing the cupboard fill up left people with a good feeling.