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Annual Food Drive Benefits Norman Adventist Community Services

The National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) conducted its 30th annual national food drive on Saturday, May 14. The Stamp Out Hunger® Food Drive, the country’s largest single-day food drive, provided residents with an easy way to donate food to those in need.

On Saturday, May 14, as they delivered mail, the nation’s 175,000 letter carriers collected donations left by residents near their mailb

oxes. Each year people are encouraged to leave a sturdy bag containing non-perishable foods, such as canned soup, canned vegetables, and other packaged food next to their mailbox before the regular mail delivery on that Saturday.

The Norman Seventh-day Adventist Church has utilized this donated food for several years. This year on the day of the food drive, the Church volunteers met on Sabbath afternoon. Several volunteers went to the post office to load and weigh food from the incoming postal trucks. Once the food was weighed, it was distributed to trucks waiting in line from local charities, including ours.

Our church volunteers hauled several truckloads of food to the church where volunteers spent several hours sorting and boxing. This annual infusion of food helps reduce the amount of food that must be purchased by our local Adventist Community Services for the upcoming year.

The Norman Adventist Community Service outreach distributes food, clothing, and personal care items to neighbors in need on the 3rd-5th Tuesday of every month, from 9:00 A.M. until 12:00 noon. Individuals may use these services three times per year. Additionally, Directors Carol Buckmaster and Pastor Stan Buckmaster as well as several faithful volunteers provide bedding, towels, and cleaning supplies to families whose homes have been destroyed by disasters.

Carol Buckmaster, ACS Director shares firsthand the impact this outreach has on our community.

“We assist clients through times of crisis, such as sickness, loss of employment, death in family, and other critical life events. Our clients are very diverse. A few days ago a homeless family of five living in their car came to our pantry and clothes closet. They had been evicted from their apartment after complaining about mold. They had no place to cook, so we let them go through our pantry and select items that had pop-top cans containing fruits, soups and vegetables. There were also packets of whole milk and juices that did not require refrigeration. They also selected laundry soap and personal care items, such as hand sanitizer, wipes, toothbrushes, toothpaste and deodorant. They were very appreciative that we had made their circumstances more livable.
Another lady came in and was separated from her husband who was abusive to her. She was low on money and didn’t know where to turn for assistance. While she was shopping in our pantry, I went to see if she was finding what she needed. She turned and threw herself in my arms and started sobbing uncontrollably stating that she had never been in a situation to have to ask for assistance. I assured her that there came a time when everyone needs help of some kind. I prayed with her and gave her encouragement.” - Carol Buckmaster

Each year the church provides assistance to thousands of neighbors with food, clothing, and personal items. Our primary source of funds is received from church members and a fixed percentage of our church’s monthly combined budget.

Local pastor, Harvey Gil is highly supportive of the humanitarian ministry in the community. ACS has enjoyed wonderful success for many years. Many seeds have been planted in Norman that will surely grow in God’s time.

The ACS Ministry operates out of a nicely refurbished metal classroom building purchased from Norman Public Schools in 2018. Pastor Stan Buckmaster spearheaded the building project with overwhelming support from the church.

During the early months of Covid-19, the ministry was operating by appointment only. Carol Buckmaster was obviously disappointed and troubled by the closure since its impact on the local community would certainly be felt by those most vulnerable. She sought help from a local elder, Joy Pelfrey who is a public health professional specializing in infectious diseases. Joy wrote health & safety protocols for the reopening of the ACS Ministry to safely serve local families. Once again, the volunteers could get back to work serving our neighbors during a unique time of need.

Please pray for our continued success in serving our neighbors and planting seeds of hope and salvation.

by Mark A. Pelfrey

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