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'No Hunger Holiday' helps brighten season for hundreds of families

PAULS VALLEY, Okla. – Holiday cheer and gratitude were abundant Dec. 8 as hundreds of Garvin County families received holiday care packages.

The packages were distributed to many area families during the No Hunger Holiday drive-thru event, conducted at Wacker Park. Designed to help children and families during the holidays, the initiative also brings awareness to the important issue of childhood hunger.

While jolly holiday music rang out, a line of vehicles estimated to be 2 miles long wound through the park as an estimated 800 families waited to receive a holiday package.

Families received a 25-pound box of food products, a 15-pound box of essential hygiene items, such as soap and shampoo, toys, and children's books. In addition, boxed meals from the Chickasaw Nation Impa'chi program were provided to children who attended the event.

The Garvin County event was one of dozens of No Hunger Holiday events conducted nationwide by Feed the Children in November and December.

Working together with organizations including the Chickasaw Nation make the food distribution events possible, Aaron Hazel, Feed the Children event planning manager, said.

"Being able to partner with the Chickasaw Nation to serve 800 families is a huge blessing to Feed the Children," he said. "We definitely could not do it without the Chickasaw Nation." Demand for assistance has continued to increase this year due to rising food prices. Feed the Children dispatched 60 trucks to distribution events in about 35 states in the past two months, Mr. Hazel said.

This is the sixth year the Chickasaw Nation and Feed the Children have collaborated for No Hunger Holiday in Chickasaw Country. Previous events took place in Ada, Ardmore, Kingston, Newcastle, Sulphur and Tishomingo.

The food distribution event with Feed the Children provides the Chickasaw Nation another opportunity to help fulfill the mission to enhance the overall quality of life of the Chickasaw people, Melinda Newport, director of Chickasaw Nation Nutrition Services Children's Programs, said.

"The Chickasaw Nation's collaboration with Feed the Children helps demonstrate how our mission to enhance the overall quality of life of the Chickasaw people, also enhances the lives of our neighbors," Ms. Newport said. "We hope offering these gifts to our Chickasaw families and neighbors will brighten their holiday season, and we are pleased to once again work with Feed the Children to help serve Oklahoma families."

Chickasaw Nation and Feed the Children staff and several volunteers worked in concert to unload a truckload of packages, greet participants, load vehicles and direct hundreds of vehicles during the three-hour event.

Edmond, Oklahoma, resident Kim Edwards took a day off work to volunteer with her daughter at the event. "I love it," Ms. Edwards said as she prepared boxes of sweet treats to give away.

"It just makes you feel good when you go home, knowing that a child will have something to eat and a toy. That's why I do it."

For more information about nutrition programs and services the Chickasaw Nation offers its citizens and community members, contact Chickasaw Nation Nutrition Services at (580) 436-7255.

Feed the Children, one of the nation's leading anti-hunger organizations, was established in 1979. It is headquartered in Oklahoma City. The organization provides food, education initiatives, essentials and disaster response as it helps children and their families become independent and self-reliant.

Feed the Children currently works in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and in 10 countries around the world.

Visit to learn more about the No Hunger Holidays campaign.


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