This week’s featured Bryan County United Way agency is Families Feeding Families.
Families Feeding Families was founded in Durant in 2004 by Brian and Tish Burkhalter. Families Feeding Families is a nonprofit charity that provides hot meals Monday through Friday from 4:30 to 6 p.m.
“We felt like it was something the Lord wanted us to do,” said Tish Burkhalter. The couple began planning in 2003.
They made a list of what was needed and asked the community for support. The people of Bryan County donated all the needed supplies.
The kitchen was set up in George Washington School in Durant. On the first night it was open the kitchen served 53 meals.
She said that her husband and she knew that there was a need in Bryan county, but did not know just how big the need was.
Today, the kitchen serves an average of 250 meals per day.
“There are no stipulations, no questions,” said Burkhalter.
She said all they ask is that each person signs in. The reason for signing in she said is to keep track of how many meals are served.
Who is Families Feeding Families? “It’s you. It’s the community,” said Burkhalter.
She said Families Feeding Families is everybody involved from the people who donate, the volunteers, to the people served.
Who does the organization serve? Burkhalter said the organization is here to serve its community and neighbors. It serves anyone in need. She said the need does not have to be a physical need.
The organization wants to help with all needs whether by providing food or clothes or by listening to somebody.
What is the organization’s goal for Bryan County? The organization wants to make an impact. They meet the physical needs so that all other needs are made easier to meet.
Burkhalter said that it is difficult for children to focus on school and parents to focus on work when they are worried about the needs at home.
How can Bryan County help? The organization needs volunteers and donations. “Donations are extremely low and the needs are rising,” said Burkhalter.
Families Feeding Families also organizes four other programs: Kids and Baskets, Hope Chest, School Back Packs, and Gideon’s Christmas.
Kids and Baskets provides in-need children with kid-friendly weekend food. The food does not need to be cooked so children can eat it even if they are alone on the weekend.
The food goes home with the children on Friday as they leave school so that they are ensured a meal while school is not in session. The program fed approximately 1,400 children last year.
Hope Chest and School Back Packs work similarly to the Kitchen. Citizen donate clothes and back packs for citizens in need to receive.
Gideon’s Christmas works differently. Families in need sign up and give a wish list from the children in the family. Others “adopt” a family to buy for.
It is not mandatory to buy what is on the wish list, said Burkhalter, but it gives an idea of what to get. She said that with this program, children in need don’t simply get one or two small gifts.
“It’s amazing,” she said. “Their Christmas is taken care of.”
To donate or volunteer for Families feeding families citizens can contact Burkhalter at (580)230-9142.