The Food and Resource Center of Southern Oklahoma opened just under two years ago in September 2016.
Since then, the small staff and a team of volunteers have worked together to give back to the those who need a little help.
The current staff includes just four people: Director James Rosson, Volunteer Coordinator Cristal Paty, Resource Coordinator Terry Walker and Warehouse Manager Norman Kirk. Thursday night, the staff and many of the volunteers gathered at the American Nation Bank Presidential Hall to celebrate those who give their time. In addition to a food and dessert potluck, local music group Stone Altar performed for the guests.
While they have done small things to recognize volunteers over the past two years, Thursday’s banquet was the first of its kind for the organization, Rosson said. “In this room, we have a group who have given hundreds of hours in service.”
Robson said he volunteered at the Resource Center for a day before he interviewed for the director position. “I was expecting to hand out a box,” Rosson said.  “But it was a grocery store. People got to choose what they were going to take home.”
The first month the center was open, Rosson said they served 990 guests. Last month, they served 1550 - a record number.
“We usually talk about pounds of food,” Rosson said. “But I’d like to share some different numbers. We generally give around 120,000 pounds of food per month. For that, we spend $4,000-5,000. The retail value of the food we give away is approximately $250,000. That’s a low estimate.”
Robson said without the volunteers, this could not be done. “We only have four people on staff,” Rosson said. “We can’t serve a hundred or more people per day on our own. We can’t do what we do without you.”
Paty gave certificates to those who volunteered 500 or more hours and recognized many others who have volunteered 100 or more as well. The volunteers recognized Thursday ranged in age from 12 to 92. All combined, Paty said they have volunteered more than 36,000 hours since the center opened.
“There are tough days,” Paty said. “But you keep coming back.”