Story and photos provided by Becky Taylor, Executive Director
It’s hard to believe that Our Daily Bread Food & Resource Center is celebrating its second holiday season! The past fifteen months of operation have been a whirlwind—many moments of growth, learning, excitement, surprises, and new friendships. As I reflect on the past year and our neighbors in poverty that have left a lasting impression on my heart, I am overwhelmed by all that has happened. I will do my best to capture all the past year’s beauty in the following three observations.
1. Our neighbors need food. This may sound simplistic and obvious, but we must be intentional in seeing the need. When we opened our doors in September 2017, we anticipated serving 550 households each month. We have routinely served over 1,000 households each month. In 275 shopping sessions over the past fifteen months, I have had the pleasure of getting to know our guests. Our guests range from Veterans, to single-parent households, widows, to the working poor. Our guests are our neighbors—their kids go to school with ours, they work in the stores we frequent, they take care of our aging parents in nursing homes, and most importantly, their situation could be ours at any moment.
ODB offers a variety of resources to help our neighbors in need. In addition to offering groceries to our neighbors, Our Daily Bread hosts the BabyMobile once a month to provide babies with diapers and formula. Guests have participated in cooking classes and learned how to stretch the food received on the shopping floor. Our Daily bread is incorporating SNAP Outreach and a Pre-Diabetes class in January to its operations. Additionally, the garden at Our Daily Bread will grow and offer a place for compost, fresh produce, educational opportunities, and beauty as we embark on a new year. Hunger affects everything, and we must be an active part of the solution.
2. Volunteers are my heroes. I am constantly blown away by the volunteers who step through our doors. Our volunteers range from 7 – 92 years old. Some are retired, others are students, but they all are intentional in helping others. Our volunteers shop with guests, swap recipes on the shopping floor, pick up food from our Retail Recovery partners, sort produce, harvest our garden, stock the shelves, and pour their heart into their role on the Board of Directors. Our volunteers come from different churches, different socioeconomic classes, different majors, different ethnicities, and different political leanings—but they all share the unquenching desire to stop hunger and to love their neighbor. I learn daily from our volunteers and the way they selflessly serve and invest their precious time at Our Daily Bread. If you are interested in getting involved as a volunteer at Our Daily Bread, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. It takes a village. Fighting hunger and alleviating poverty necessitate a multifaceted approach. Our community understands this and has stepped up to actively fight hunger together. From local foundations, donors, churches, schools, butchers, gardeners, store owners, professors, to civic groups, each part is essential in what we do at Our Daily Bread. From large organizations like Oklahoma State University and Stillwater Medical Center to my son’s fourth-grade class and everything in between—it is understood that each and every person who calls Payne County home has a role in fighting hunger. I have witnessed this village at work each day at Our Daily Bread and I am constantly amazed at this community in which I call home.
The depth of support from our community has been overwhelming, and I am humbled to be the one that gets to lead this organization. I look forward to 2019 working alongside one another to fight hunger in Payne County. Until then, my hope is that you continue to “Give us this day…Our Daily Bread.”