DURANT — St. Catherine’s House Food Bank will be receiving funding from the Bryan County United Way in 2010.
The food bank, founded in 1997, is a new funding project for United Way. UW has begun raising funds and seeks to raise $150,000 for 2010. Fourteen local agencies will receive funding.
St. Catherine’s House is a charity of St. William Catholic Church. Previously located on East Main Street, the food bank moved in the spring into a building donated by Hugh and Tram Hill at 1015 N. First Ave.
Bags of food are distributed from 9-11:30 a.m. on Thursdays, except the first Thursday of the month. All families receive the same amount of food. Families are based on family units, not households. If three families live in one house, each family receives a bag of groceries.
The agency hands out on average, 200 bags of food each distribution day, said Marilyn Hitchcock, director of St. Catherine’s. The bags contain paper towels, cereal, milk, soap vegetables and meat.
Each bag has at least a full-day’s food and although recipients must meet the guidelines for receiving USDA commodities, no one is turned away.
“If you walk in the door, we assume you need food,” Hitchcock said.
The United Way funding will begin in January and St. Catherine’s plans to offer more hygiene products. Many families do not have enough of these items because those struggling will purchase food before hygiene products.
“We are hoping for enough funds to provide personal hygiene products such as soap, deodorant and shampoo” Hitchcock said. “We are giving out soap ... this will just increase our budget for that ... it’s a necessity.”
St. Catherine’s receives most of its food from the Regional Food Bank in Oklahoma City. Local businesses and individuals also contribute. School children have donated several truck loads of items at Christmas, thanks to the efforts of Durant Intermediate School Teacher Kathy Moore.
On the second Tuesday of the month, several thousand pounds of food products are picked up at the Regional Food Bank’s drop-off site at the Choctaw Nation. Wednesday, morning, volunteers sort the items and place them into bags for distribution on Thursday.
“The need has grown from 30 families to 200 families,” Hitchcock said. “So many come in who have just lost a job or are in between jobs.”
Some recipients have returned and made donations after obtaining jobs.
St. Catherine’s also has a clothes closet and accepts and distributes all sizes of clothing. There are presently 10 volunteers and additional volunteers are welcome.
For more information, call 920-4655.