Coalition against hunger kicks off in Bryan County

By Jessica Breger Staff Writer jbreger@civitasmedia.com

October 17, 2013

Wednesday evening, the Bryan County Hunger Awareness Campaign of the new Bryan County Coalition against Hunger kicked off with a presentation of several people in the business of being good neighbors.

Organizer and Coalition Chair David Northcutt said even though the Democratic Party of Bryan County hosted the event, it is a non-political issue that he hopes everybody will get involved with.

He said that while we are in a robust economic growth, there are still people in our community going hungry.

John Bobb-Semple from the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma traveled from Oklahoma City to speak about the hunger needs in the state and the many organizations helping to fight hunger.

He commended the organizations in the area for the work they do and pushed for even more action.

“No matter how great these efforts are we have a lot of work to do,” he said.

He said, “We as neighbors have to be engaged in this,” then commenting that Bryan County has some of the highest capacity volunteers in the state.

Bryan County leaders including Director of Hands of Hope Sue Stanfield, Director of Families Feeding Families Tish Burkhalter, Director of St. Catherine’s Food Bank Marilyn Hitchcock and Director of Bryan County United Way Pam Robinson spoke on how their programs help fight hunger.

They also talked on how hunger impacts other aspects of human life and how they used their food banks and hunger solving services to open doors to other services to fight poverty, not only hunger.

“We plant hope in their lives,” said Stanfield.

Burkhalter said, “That meal is to get them in our door.”

From there, she said they can address other issues a person may be having whether it is a physical need or something as obscure as loneliness or depression.

The speakers also said how they work with each other to accommodate the needs of the community by sharing recourses, alternating closed times and giving people connections to other organizations.

Northcutt said the coalition will be having more events to help fight hunger and poverty in the area and encouraged all citizens to get involved in current hunger-fighting projects.

One such current project is the Red River Ford Food Drive going on now until November 22. Information on this food drive will appear in Friday’s Durant Daily Democrat.