Families in Oklahoma struggle with hunger more than most in our country, according to a new report from the USDA. Oklahoma and five other states have a higher rate of food insecurity than the rest of nation. Especially at this time of year, families in the state are really hurting for help.

“We need help with food for the holidays,“ Kate from Oklahoma told us.

To help Oklahoma families during this season, Feed the Children partnered with Norman Regional Health System to distribute 400 boxes of food and 400 boxes of household essentials like cleaning supplies and hygiene items, plus toys and books for the kids.

“We've been doing it for about five years now,” said Sara Raney, Manager of Community Health for the Norman Regional Health System. “We know it's a tough time during the holiday season for everyone. So, we want to do the best that we can to volunteer our time and for our employees to give back.”

Three volunteers with boxes at an event

Families from Moore Public Schools were invited to the event. Alexis Robertson, Coordinator of Student Services for the district, says some of their families are experiencing a lot of difficulties right now. She’s hoping that the event boosts the spirits for both parents and their kids.

“Events like this, especially whenever we get around the holiday season, are just vital to make sure that our patrons have just some of their basic necessities met. But not just basic necessities, also that kind of extra something that all the kids are going to want around the holiday season,” said Alexis.

“Whenever they attend events like this, and they get those toys, they get those brand new books, you can just see their faces light up. And some of these kiddos have never gotten anything brand new. And so, to come to an event like this, and to be given boxes of brand new things like toys and books, it just provides a lot of hope for those families.”

A child holding books at an outdoor event

We met a lot of parents that day as we loaded the boxes of food and essentials into cars. We also got to see a lot of smiles. For single mother Paige, the food box brought her some relief.

“Food is really expensive nowadays, so it helps. Just being able to get some nonperishable foods gives us more options to work around when it comes to finances,” she said.

The day also brought joy to those who volunteered to pass out the boxes. Most of Norman Regional Health System’s staff work inside a hospital or clinic. Being able to serve outside of that setting is extra special for them.

“It's a wonderful time because we have almost 3,900 employees and a lot of them don't work in the same departments as each other. This gives all our employees the opportunity to bond together,” Sara said.

“Part of our mission is to give back to our community. This is a great opportunity for our employees not to just serve at the bedside, but to serve in the community as well.”

A mother and child standing outdoors

This event shows the impact of working together as a team to fight hunger. It starts with your donation, and it comes full circle when Feed the Children delivers the boxes of food and essentials with help from partners like Norman Regional Health System.

The impact is even more evident when you hear from families who were helped.

“We appreciate you. If it wasn’t for you, we wouldn’t know what to do,” Kate said.

Thank you for your compassion for families like Kate’s and your dedication to helping even more in the future.