Lawton Food Bank opens new doors
The Lawton Food Bank opened its doors to its new location on Nov. 9.
At 3 p.m., Director of the Food Bank Jeri Mosiman, Chair of the Lawton Food Bank Board Nathan Johnson and Executive Director of the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma Rodney Bivens welcomed the public to the new home of the food bank with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Members of the Chamber of Commerce, McMahon Foundation, local businesses and other community supporters celebrated a new era in the history of the Lawton Food Bank.
Mosiman said her organization’s move will allow the members of the Lawton Food Bank to feed families more effectively and efficiently. Since Mosiman became the director, she said she has seen the numbers of people and families who visit the food bank quadruple.
“We needed more space,” Mosiman said. “Our old building had 4000 square ft. Last year, we fed an average of 857 families every month. It was extremely difficult to do that in that size of building. It was challenging. This one is a better fit at 10,000 square ft.”
Mosiman said she remains in awe of the transformation of her new building.
“When I took over the food bank over seven years ago, our lobby seated four people,” she said. “There’s now chairs for 21 set up. It just seems so surreal.”
Mosiman said she is not the only one ready to begin this new adventure. Many volunteers and donors are excited to begin providing more food to even more families.
“Cameron Baptist Youth was here. Last year, there was zero food in the warehouse,” she said. “They came in the other day and were amazed to see all of this space and food after seeing zero food last year. We all held hands and prayed. I just cried. I had tears streaming down my face. It has just been so remarkable to go from that to this in the course of a year.”
The move would not have been possible without the help of the McMahon Foundation. Mosiman said the charitable organization provided the Lawton Food Bank with a donation to purchase the new building.
Mosiman believes individuals were put on this earth to help each other and sees the new home of the food bank as evidence of the good in people and the Lawton-Fort Sill community.
She said: “We are a United Way agency, so we have been receiving money from the community for the past 20 years, but this building is a testament to community at its finest. No one entity could have pulled this off. It is just a result of a community pulling together for people in need. The City of Lawton helped us with our building and Goodyear helped move us.”
After the reveal and ribbon cutting, Mosiman and the other members of the Lawton Food Bank were surprised with even more kindness.
During the event, Steve Barnes, general manager of Jim Glover Chevrolet, presented the Lawton Food Bank with the gift of a check for $5,000 to feed its neighbors in need. Arvest Bank Marketing Officer and Lawton Food Bank Board Member Angela Spradlin next took the stage to surprise the organization with a check for $24,000. Mosiman said she was in shock from the generosity of her community and was almost speechless at the time.
“It was very heartwarming,” she said.
Mosiman said the food bank is always looking for volunteers, whether helping families carry items to their cars or creating a website for the food bank.
“People can help in whatever way they would like. If people have time that they are willing to volunteer, we can always use them,” she said. “We always need help in sorting food from food drives and stocking the shelves. We are always looking for the daily drudgery of cleaning. There are people when they go to the grocery store who pick up two of what they are getting and give one to the food bank.”
For the holiday season, Mosiman said her team plans on providing additional treats to present families with the best holidays.
“We have decided our gift to our families is to get additional food,” Mosiman said. “A family of one to three will get 10 additional items. If a family has five or six family members, it will get 20 additional items. Seven or more will get thirty additional items.”
To donate any food or clothing items, books, or toys or to volunteer, contact Jeri Mosiman at 580.353.7994.