Arvest gives $2,500 to Neosho Family YMCA Summer Meal Program

Seth Kinker
Neosho Daily News

On Jun. 1, associates of Arvest Bank, on behalf of the Arvest Foundation, presented a $2,500 check to the Neosho Family YMCA for their summer meal program.

“Terra Oxendine is a YMCA member,” said Tina Ferguson, Executive Director of Youth Development for the Neosho YMCA. Oxendine also works for Arvest Bank. “She reached out to our CEO and he immediately thought of the summer food program. Because 25,000 meals is a huge goal, he thought that would be a good fit for what the Arvest Foundation does. It got approved and were super excited.”

Rebecca Dunham, Arvest Sales Manager; Tammy Willhoit, Arvest Credit Administrator; Amber Hodges, Arvest Branch Sales Manager; Bruce Mahr, Arvest Community Bank Lender; Terra Oxendine, Arvest Commercial Banker; Lily Oxendine; Tina Ferguson, YMCA Executive Director of Youth Development; Amber Mullins, YMCA Summer Food Coordinator; Missy Christal, YMCA Chief Financial Officer; Lisa Sedillos, YMCA Senior Program Director; Ryan Cargile, YMCA Lifeguard.

The Neosho YMCA has participated in the summer food program for about 13 years. It runs from Jun. 1. until Aug. 14, providing free meals to those 18 or younger in the Neosho Area.

From Monday through Friday from 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m., lunch will be available at the city pool with weekend food bags available on Friday’s from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. that will include breakfast and lunch for Saturday and Sunday.

After partnering with the city of Neosho last year to take over staffing and management of the pool, the Neosho YMCA saw an opportunity for their summer meal program.

“If the kids can’t come to where the food is, you bring the food to where the kids are,” said Ferguson. “It was a big hit and the United States Department of Agriculture has granted waivers, so food doesn’t have to be consumed on site. People can come get the meal and leave, and it’s same thing on Friday. It doesn’t have to be eaten here, just picked up and taken.”

In July, the summer meal program will be doing 7-day long grocery grab bags as well.

The Neosho YMCA has also partnered with G and W Foods grocery store in Seneca and on Jul. 6, and subsequent Tuesdays from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. they’ll be distributing bags that have six days’ worth of breakfast and lunch.

“It’s a grocery bundle, not premade, but it’s just stuff to help out,” said Ferguson. “Because in the summer, when kids are out of school, I know when I had teenagers especially, your grocery bill doubles. Regardless of income or anything like that, it just helps. We want to help ease that burden on parents and make sure all kids have food.”

“25,000 meals (distributed), that’s our goal,” added Ferguson. “That’s a lot of food.”

Partnerships with the city of Neosho, Save a Lot in Neosho and G and W Foods in Seneca have helped make these programs possible, if you’d like to help by donating time, money or food, you can contact the Neosho YMCA at 417-455-9999

Items you can donate: Fruit cups, apple sauce packets, Cheerios, Bran Flakes, KIX