A Pauls Valley food pantry in the business of helping those in need got its own helping hand this week with one very big donation.

The donation from the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma came in the form of a few tons of food going into the Samaritans of Pauls Valley facility in Wacker Park on Thursday.

Volunteers of all kinds came out to unload a semi truck full of food with much of it donated in response to last week's devastating storm cutting off power to all of Pauls Valley and a number of spots in Garvin County for two or three days.

Locally it also caused widespread damage coming from winds estimated to be around 100 mph.

Bonnie Meisel and other Samaritan board members were also right there helping with the special delivery.

“We were getting our regular delivery, plus as much extra food as they can throw at us,” Meisel said, referring to the state food bank, which normally makes a delivery to PV every couple of weeks.

“The Samaritans were paying for some it and some was coming to us for free.”

She says the donation came after Dave Wattenbarger of the Regional Food Bank made a visit to PV on June 20 to see if any help could be offered one day after the storm struck.

“He wanted to know about the weather situation,” Meisel said as she continued directing volunteers with places to store the donated food as it was brought into the Samaritans' facility.

“He said the Regional Food Bank promised to help in any way they could. We made an emergency order that was delivered Tuesday (June 25) and it was all free to us from the Regional Food Bank.

Despite no power on the day after the June 19 storm Samaritan volunteers were using flashlights to still try and serve residents in need.

The local pantry wound up serving 62 households earlier this week on Tuesday, June 25.

That's a Samaritans' record for one day, which typically is about half that number.

Then came this week's big delivery on Thursday, which apparently got the local pantry fully stocked for now.

In all, there were about eight tons of produce, milk, cheese and fruits donated by the Regional Food Bank. That was added to the stacks of boxes of other food purchased by the PV pantry.

That's not only good news for Pauls Valley residents, but the Samaritans have been asked to extend their help out for now.

“They've asked us to serve Elmore City and Paoli. They need to bring proof of residence and an ID.”

Meisel is quick add those residents also have to qualify for food stamps as the help is income based. PV residents can came right away because of the emergency before returning to the regular cycle of once every two months.

The Samaritans pantry could have extended hours next week. The regular hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday and 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday.

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