By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
The shelves at Horn of Plenty were nearly empty as its fall food drive began Sunday afternoon. By the time the drive was about halfway done, volunteer Janet Cox likened the appearance of the activity to a beehive.
“We’re pretty busy. We’re going great,” Cox said. “It needs to be great — we’re pretty empty.”
The shelves at the organization’s headquarters at 16th and Randolph were beginning to fill, and Cox said the annex would start to fill after that. A warehouse also is available and usually also is filled after a drive. This is the second drive of the year.
For more than 25 years, Cox said, Horn of Plenty has been collecting food that is then given to local agencies who distribute the food to individuals.
At about 3:30 p.m., cars were driving up to the site, and the food was being unloaded by Boy Scouts and other volunteers. The vehicles then drove away to collect another route.
Cox said this is the most crucial drive of the year, because it must support the food center through Thanksgiving and Christmas.
“If they cut back food stamps, the need will be even greater. People will be hit hard,” she said.
McDonald’s donated ice cream cones to volunteers as it does every year, and Cox said the kids and some adults loved it.
Earlier, Horn of Plenty Board President Pat Brown said the organization definitely is ready for the shelves to be restocked. She also mentioned the cutbacks on food stamps causing an increase in the need at Horn of Plenty.
Oklahoma Department of Human Services Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program has announced food stamp increases given in 2009 under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will expire Oct. 31. The reduction in food stamp allocations is expected to amount to $66 million statewide, enough to be felt by grocery stores throughout the state as shoppers have less food budget to spend.
Additionally, DHS said in a press release that although each household varies, a family of four with no income and no other changes to its case can expect a $36 decrease in its monthly benefits. That is the equivalent of $1.40 per meal per person per day. A family of four will lose the equivalent of 21 meals per month.
As usual, the most-needed items include tuna, peanut butter and jelly, canned fruit, canned milk, cereal and baby food.
“Those are the traditional needs,” Brown said.
In addition to food items, monetary donations are welcome, she said. They may be sent by mail to 121 N. 16th, Enid, or by taking them to the headquarters between 10 a.m. and noon Monday through Friday.