NORMAN — McFarlin Memorial United Methodist food pantry will host an open house from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Oct. 20.
“If you do the math, it is easy to understand why almost one in five households in Norman are struggling to buy food,” said Martie Buzzard, a volunteer for the open house. “Every week we help single moms, retirees helping adult children or raising grandchildren, OU students with young children, people from all walks of life whose mental or physical conditions prevent them from earning a sustainable income. A car accident, serious illness, job lay-off or cutbacks of a few hours a week can create extreme financial hardship and it can take years to recover.”
Last year, McFarlin Methodist Food Pantry volunteers handed out more than 50,000 pounds of food to 1,300 households and the need is growing.
“It is incorrect to assume that someone asking for food is lazy or unwilling to work, choosing to live on hand-outs and government assistance. Most of the people who come to the pantry do not qualify for assistance, and those who receive food stamps cannot make it through the month without help,” Buzzard said. “Someone coming out of prison seeking a new life is even more disadvantaged because they can rarely find affordable housing or jobs. This comprises a huge segment of our society — hard-working people who live on the edge of extreme poverty.”
The pantry, located in a small house north of the church in the 400 block of S. University Street, is open from 9 to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday. To qualify, a person must have a photo I.D. with proof of residence in Norman or Noble and meet income guidelines set by the Regional Food Bank.
“We are serving close to 100 households a week, a 25 percent increase over this time last year,” said Buzzard.