Mercy Health Love County - News

Hospital Food Pantry Has New Home at Greenville School Cafeteria

Posted on Monday, June 24th, 2024


Food Pantry Now at Greenville Cafeteria: Pantry volunteers take pride in the two
coolers supplied by Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. Holding up bags of fruit and
produce are Lead Volunteer Lula Finch, Anthony Brown, Ann Graham, Debra Gaines,
Naomi Lornes (seated), Jim Ahern, LeAnn Hart, and Kevin Clements. 

It’s official: the Hospital Food Pantry has a new home at the former Greenville School.

The charity’s volunteers dispensed fresh, frozen, and non-perishable food items there for the first time on June 18. A great deal of community assistance helped make the cafeteria ready.

For the prior six weeks, the volunteers served clients temporarily from the Love County Fair Building. They doubled their clientele due to the April 27 tornado that struck key businesses on the west side of Marietta.The pantry building itself was among the casualties.

But food trucks from the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, the pantry’s licenser, continued to supply the charity, wherever set up. Donors made special contributions to help acquire new refrigeration, office and other equipment for its new home.

Then on Monday, the cafeteria  parking lot was the site of a Resource Rally by Feed the Children food charity for the benefit of tornado-displaced workers in Marietta.

People who had lost their jobs drove through for volunteers to hand out hundreds of boxes of food, non-food necessities, and personal care items.

Feed the Children singled out Marietta for the special delivery because of the large number of residents –400 at Dollar Tree Distribution Center alone -- whose jobs were affected, according to officials on hand for the distribution.

While that was going on, the Love County Commissioners, in their weekly meeting, ratified a formal agreement with the Love County Health Center to continue pantry operations at the school cafeteria, which is 4.5 miles north of the hospital on U.S. Highway 77.

Regular hours for the food bank are 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. every Tuesday. The pantry accepts donations of fresh, frozen, and nonperishable items from the public.

Until now, it has served an average of 400 families each month who are experiencing hunger or food insecurity.

“We love it here,” said Lula Finch, lead volunteer, of her new space at Greenville’s cafeteria. “This is bigger than our original building and we have the use of the walk-in freezer and the refrigerators that were already here."

The retired clinic employee has been involved with the pantry from its beginning in a linen closet of the hospital  in 2001.

Greenville School closed last fall. The county, under direction of the County Commissioners, now assigns the use of the former school’s buildings.

Finch said  members from Generations Church in Ardmore spent a day sweeping, mopping and cleaning the cafeteria, kitchen and restrooms. The county sent specialists to put the air conditioning in working order.

The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, working with private donors from the community, provided the pantry with their first-ever coolers. This now  enables the distribution of fresh produce. They also brought a pallet jack to aid in moving boxes, and an office desk and chairs.

Even though Monday was not a normal pantry day, several of its volunteers, including Finch, Rosann Kelly, Ann Graham, Jim Ahern, and Joanne Coble were helping with the Feed the Children event.

Other volunteers came from the Love County Senior Volunteer Association, which is directed by Mary Jones. They included Roy Jones, Josh Jones, John Cartwright, Susan Cartwright, Sheila Dugger, Woody Alexander, Bonnie Alexander, and Allen Woody. Also assisting was Lauren Minyard of OSU Extension.

CNI Manufacturing sent a forklift and operator, Danny Hicks, to unload the Feed the Children truck.