Laughter, smiles accompany food distribution in Luther

Distributing food to the needy is an all volunteer effort in Luther. Spearheading that effort is 75-year-old dynamo Ruby Stahl, whose gift for gab is rivaled only by her gift for service.
BY RANDY ELLIS Published: October 18, 2010

LUTHER — Nobody does charity like Ruby Stahl.

It's 9:30 on a Thursday morning and old cars, pickups and vans are lined up for a block in Luther.

Bounding from one vehicle to the next is Stahl, a 75-year-old dynamo with a gift for gab.

"I've been doing this for 23 years," said Stahl, who spearheads charity food distribution efforts in this Route 66 community of about 1,200, about 20 miles northeast of Oklahoma City.

"I like to tell people I make a six-digit salary — they're all zeros."

The other 17 to 25 volunteers who help distribute food at Luther Community Service Center make the same salary Stahl does.

That doesn't stop them from handing out smiles and jokes by the bushel.

Their playful banter comes right back to them from Luther residents receiving the food.

As the cars and pickups drive through, volunteers load each with two big boxes of food, a jug of Clorox, a bag of apples, a couple bags of cinnamon rolls and a bunch of other items.

Food for a month

The boxes each family receives are carefully packaged to contain enough food to last one person 30 days. Extra items such as produce are thrown in when available.

"We provide curbside service," Stahl said.

Treating people with dignity is one reason Stahl believes in providing outstanding service.

She also knows it is difficult for some of the older and disabled people to get around, so she wants to make it as easy as possible for them.

"Tell this man what a mean old woman I am," Stahl shouted out to Lila McCright as she drove up.

"I'm telling it like it is," McCright shouted back. "I'm telling him how ornery you are."

"She's a blessing," McCright whispered, as soon as Stahl was out of earshot.

McCright said her husband suffered a stroke seven years ago. They have five adopted children. A state worker said, with the adoption subsidies they receive, they make $2 too much each month to qualify for food stamps.

"My children play in the band," McCright said, "and we didn't have enough money to buy instruments. Ruby got them band instruments."

And there was the time McCright's dryer broke down.

"Ruby said, 'Come by on Monday.' I did and she had a dryer for me."

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HOW TO HELP: Luther Community Service Center volunteers are accepting donations to aid with the expansion of their building and other charitable efforts. Checks can be made out to the Luther Community Service Center, P.O. Box 321, Luther, OK, 73054.

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