ENID, Okla. — Loaves & Fishes of Northwest Oklahoma is looking for additional volunteers to help out with increased demand for the food resource center during the summer.

Melanie Mayhall, volunteer coordinator at Loaves & Fishes, said demand at the client-choice food pantry goes up almost 20 percent during summer months, when children are out of school. From June through August, Mayhall said demand goes up from about 650 to 780 families served each month.

Each of those clients is accompanied by a shopper-helper, and volunteers also are needed to sort and stock food brought in from the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, area retail partners and local donors.

“Volunteers are the life-blood of Loaves & Fishes,” Mayhall said. “In order to make sure we run the pantry efficiently during these high-need months, it’s important that we have a full volunteer staff each day. Each of our volunteers are necessary year-round, but during this time they are not only necessary but vital.”

Mayhall said volunteering as little as three hours can “change someone’s life,” and gives people an opportunity to be a direct part of helping those in need.

“As a client-choice food and re­source center, our clients get to decide which food items they take home each time they shop with us,” Mayhall said. “Our facility is different from most food pantries because it contains a large commercial freezer and refrigerator, which allows us to accept and distribute more perishable food items, like fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy and frozen meat.”

Loaves & Fishes also operates a 8,175 square-foot garden to grow fresh produce items for the pantry.

Anyone interested in volunteering at Loaves & Fishes can fill out an online volunteer application at http://www.loavesandfishesnwok.org/volunteer.html. Volunteers must be 16 or older to volunteer unaccompanied, while children 13-15 must be accompanied by an adult.

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Neal is health, military affairs and religion reporter and columnist for the Enid News & Eagle. Follow him on Twitter, @jamesnealwriter, and online at jamesrneal.com. He can be reached at jneal@enidnews.com.

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I am a retired Naval Officer and small business owner, outside of my work at the News & Eagle. My wife Tammy and I enjoy serving together at church and attending Gaslight and ESO. We have two daughters, three dogs and little free time.