Thanks to a collaboration of The Chickasaw Nation and Feed the Children, 800 local families now have better stocked pantries.
On Tuesday afternoon the two joined forces at Noble Stadium for No Hunger Holidays. There, they distributed 25-pound boxes of food, and 10-pound boxes of essentials like toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, and other assorted goodies.
Melinda Newport, director of nutrition services for The Chickasaw Nation, said this is not the first time the two have worked together.
“We have been in a partnership with Feed the Children for the past three years for another project that directly ships food to 4,000 households a month,” Newport said. “As a result of that, they asked us if we would help host these events that they do all over Oklahoma.”
Newport said they have held this particular event in several communities over the past few years, but this was the first time No Hunger Holidays has come to Ardmore.
All families that received the food were there by invitation and had a voucher for the event. The vouchers were distributed to local charitable agencies, then the agencies distributed the vouchers to families in need.
Newport said that each voucher had target hours to help insure that everyone could get through the line in a timely manner. However, she said the first hour of the day was definitely the busiest.
“There were four solid lines for the first hour,” Newport said.  After that, she said the day was relatively steady.
Michael Murphy, director of corporate partnerships with Feed the Children, detailed what types of foods were being distributed.
 “They are nonperishables,” Murphy said. “Things like spaghetti and tomato sauce, peanut butter and cereal.” Most importantly, he said everything given away will last for at least a year before it expires.
Because the food must have a long shelf life, Feed the Children actually purchases the majority of the food in the boxes, relying heavily on sponsorships.
“A lot of the essentials box is donated unless it’s something we need that’s dated,” Murphy said before giving the example of toothpaste — something that often has an expiration. “The food has to be dated and approved, so some of it can be donated, but for the most part, it’s hard to get canned goods that are dated for a year out.”
In addition to the food and toiletries, Newport said they were also handing out bags of books and bags of toys.
“It’s really just a variety of things that will hopefully help things out,” Newport said.