Woodward, Okla. —
A local chiropractic office and food pantry are teaming up to help provide over 200 families with a complete Thanksgiving meal.
For 8 years, the Woodward Families Helping Families food pantry has been giving away turkeys to needy families for Thanksgiving.
Then starting last year, Dr. Barbie Phillips' chiropractic office, the Family Wellness Center, has been helping to provide the side dishes.
For the second year, Phillips and her staff are holding a Holiday Food Drive to collect boxed or canned versions of all the Thanksgiving favorites, including:
• Stove Top dressing,
• boxed mashed potatoes and gravy (mix or pre-packaged),
• canned green beans, corn, yams, cranberry sauce, and
• boxed deserts such as cake, brownie or cookie mixes.
"People can donate enough to make a full meal or they can donate just parts of it. Or they can donate gift cards for the groceries or cash," Phillips said. "We collect it and then it all goes to Families Helping Families."
For whoever donates $50 or more worth of food items or cash to the food drive, they will be eligible for a free session from one of the center's 2 chiropractors.
"They will be seen by myself or Dr. Sarah Mabra, since she's in my office now. So there's 2 doctors participating this year," Phillips said.
She said current patients can receive one free adjustment, while new patients can receive a free consult, x-rays and first exam (with paid membership to the Preferred Chiropractic Doctor program).
If not donating cash directly, donors will have to present a receipt showing they spent at least $50 in order to be eligible for the free services.
The Holiday Food Drive will continue through Nov. 21, with donations being accepted Mondays through Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day at the Family Wellness Center, 1903 Main St.
IT'S ABOUT SHOWING LOVE AND FEEDING THE HUNGRY
Phillips said her office started the Holiday Food Drive because "we're a Christian office, so we believe in ministry."
"By helping to give back to the community and helping meet the needs of the community, that's our way of building our ministry and reaching out to the community," she said, noting "our opinion is all people need to know that they're cared about and loved."
She said the food drive is also a way for her office to share its blessings.
"We feel like we're very blessed and we want to share that with people who are less fortunate," Phillips said.
Eric Cox, president and founder of Families Helping Families, said his organization is grateful for the generosity of the Family Wellness Center and all those who contribute to the Holiday Food Drive.
"We're just very thankful that they're willing to partner with us in improving the lives of those that need it in Northwest Oklahoma," Cox said.
He explained that Families Helping Families is "one of the largest food pantries in Northwest Oklahoma."
"We serviced, last year, about 436 different families," he said.
Besides the annual Thanksgiving dinner, Families Helping Families has a weekly food distribution program, where eligible families can come pick up food each Monday night at Living Word Fellowship Church.
However, Cox said he feels the Thanksgiving dinner program is just as important as any of the other food the pantry distributes to needy families.
While he knows that there are other organizations in the community who prepare and provide Thanksgiving meals for the public, he said the Families Helping Families Thanksgiving program helps to provide a fuller experience.
"I think one of the amazing things about the Thanksgiving program is that we put food in the home so that families can continue to have food over the next couple of days instead of just the one meal," he said. "Because one of the great things about Thanksgiving is the leftovers."
But whether it is a special holiday meal or the weekly food program, Cox said Families Helping Families always has the same goal.
"Our goal is to be able to make sure children have food in the house so that no matter what situation the family is in that they won't go hungry," he said.
Cox said he would encourage others who believe in that goal to help contribute to the Holiday Food Drive at Family Wellness Center.
"We're asking those who want to make a difference this Thanksgiving season to drop off items to their office," he said.