By James BrabenecNovember 14, 2019
FORT SILL, Okla., Nov. 14, 2019 -- A furious storm washed out a postwide run here Nov. 7, but the food drive linked to the event continued on unhindered as the Soldiers and Marines gathered over 10,200 pounds of food.
The food drive showcased what post can do when everyone gets on the same page as nine major organizations here contributed to the food stockpile.
On the receiving end, Lawton Food Bank employee, Marny Skindrud, called the influx of food "absolutely amazing."
But then she's well familiar with what the Army can do, having recently retired as a field artillery lieutenant colonel. She will officially step into the food bank executive director's seat Jan. 1.
"I knew when I was retiring I wanted to do something where I could help people," she said. "So this position was really the right thing at the right time."
Master Sgt. Reynaldo Maldonado, Fires Center of Excellence G3 senior operations NCO, wrote up the operations order which tasked various units with details to support the event. The responsibility to transport the food into Lawton rested with the members of the Fort Sill chapter of the Sgt. Audie Murphy Club (SAMC).
"An event, such as this, shows it can't be an individual effort, it has to be a community effort, and when the community comes together the results can be immeasurable," said Staff Sgt. Tamika Wilcox, a SAMC member. "We weren't expecting that much food, but by spreading the word, Soldiers do what they do best: They made it happen."
Wilcox said the food delivery went much quicker thanks to the Logistics Readiness Center's unit movement office (UMO).
Bob Shady, UMO chief, said his staff transported 13 pallets of food to the food bank.
"We haul stuff all over on post," said Shady of the office that uses semi-trucks and large forklifts. "It's no biggie for us."
He credited Brian Trimble, Ronald Tyler, and Billie Wiersema Jr., as the three UMO employees who did most of the work hauling and weighing the food.
Skindrud said the food bank typically provides meals of about 1.2 pounds of food, so the four shipping containers that showed up at the food bank's doorstep translates to about 8,550 meals. Also, because the food bank helps about 1,400 to 1,500 families a month, this one donation could meet all the food bank's needs for a couple months.
"The busy times of the year for food are when kids are home from school. These are normally Thanksgiving and Christmas along with fall and spring break and summer. When kids aren't getting a school lunch, there's more of a need for food at home," she said.
Although the food bank's warehouse appears quite full now, Skindrud said that abundance may sharply decline as spring approaches. "We do go through food quickly and don't want anything to go to waste."
She added Thanksgiving and Christmas are very busy times at the food bank for donations. With those donations comes plenty of opportunities for food bank employees and volunteers to organize food items for easy distribution.
"We have some paid staff, but also have a roster of volunteers and wouldn't be able to do what we do without them," said Skindrud, who added new volunteers are always welcome.
She said people are needed to sort cans, weigh food, receive deliveries, stock shelves, and check out items for customers.
"It is physical work, but everyone determines what they want to do," she said.
To volunteer, call the food bank at 580-353-7994 or email to email@example.com.
"For everyone who's a part of the Lawton Food Bank and for our customers, we are super thankful for what Fort Sill has done to help us," said Skindrud. "One of our tag lines is 'Helping our Neighbors in Need,' and we're definitely thankful to Fort Sill for helping us to do that."