Tony Sellars has been to food drives all over the country with the program Feed The Children, while Dan Short's Mustard Seed Development Corporation serves just the 73114 ZIP code.
The programs and men came together Wednesday to provide food to people in the North Highland Elementary school area.
Volunteers from both groups helped pass out 400 boxes of food and personal-care items to families. Each family received a 25-pound box of food and a 10-pound box of clothes and toiletry items.
“These are my favorite days,” said Sellars, spokesman for Feed The Children. “Seeing so many thankful people come through puts a smile on your face.”
The Mustard Seed preregistered members in the community in order to know how many boxes were needed. The areas that make up the 73114 ZIP code have been some of the poorest in Oklahoma City, Short said.
“This area used to be the second-poorest in the city. It isn't anymore, but there is still a great amount of need here,” he said.
Opie Hadjiconstantinou was one of the people who came to pick up food Wednesday. She says her husband makes good money, but she is out of work and together they do not qualify for food stamps. That puts them in a tough situation, she said.
“I try to take these donations when I can because it makes the amount of food we have in the house last just a little longer,” she said.
Many people like Hadjiconstantinou have started coming to get donations. People who were living comfortably before now may be out of work in the current economy, Sellars said. So when people drive through and thank them for their help, he has a few words for them, too.
“I tell them thank you right back, because it takes courage to come out and accept a donation, but we are glad they do,” Sellars said.
Since he co-founded Mustard Seed in 2001, Short's mission has been to build community and leadership in the 73114 ZIP code. The organization points people toward food drives and other services that can help them.
Employees at OPUBCO Communications Group also helped pack and pass out the boxes as part of Feed The Children's Together OKC initiative that partners a corporation with a certain area of the city in need.
As Short pointed a few cars in the right direction for food pickup, Sellers helped put boxes into a car. Two men unknown to each other before are now partners in helping the hungry in Oklahoma City.