This year has been challenging for everyone, and Project 66 is here to help. Founded in 2010 by five women in Arcadia, Project 66 has grown from serving around 5,000 people to over 20,000 in 2019, and they have served almost double the number of families this year over last year. This year they have also seen a record number of first-time and homeless families.
Project 66 is a faith-based community food and resource center dedicated to feeding Edmond and the surrounding area.
“One thing we really strive for is that our clients feel respected and valued. That’s why our program is a ‘client choice’ food pantry,” explained Executive director Josie Hohn.
The Project 66 food pantry looks much like a grocery store, and shelves are stocked with a variety of canned goods, boxed goods, fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats. Frozen food and refrigerated dairy items are also available. Based on family size, clients can “shop” for products their families will enjoy, rather than just receiving a pre-packaged box of food.
Personal hygiene items and cleaning supplies such as laundry detergent, toilet paper, etc., are also available.
Project 66 is almost totally volunteer-operated with just a few paid staff. Volunteers pick up food that has been donated by local grocery stores and then sort the items and stock the shelves. Volunteers also assist the clients in shopping and “checking out.” During the pandemic, clients place their orders and then pick up their items curbside.
Most of the food and other items are donated. Occasionally, Project 66 will purchase items at cost from a store. Churches and local residents hold food drives to fill the pantry, and recently Project 66 received a large donation of Girl Scout cookies, which was a big hit with the clients.
Michael Weller joined the board three months ago. “I love the mission and when I toured the facility, it just felt like home,” he said. “I knew I had to get involved.” Nine board members meet monthly to guide the organization and support the executive director.
Project 66 is more than a food pantry. They are also a resource referral center for other services people might need. They also offer cooking classes, healthy eating programs, budgeting classes, and even virtual cooking demonstrations, which you can find on their Facebook page. Future plans include job search assistance with resume writing and interview preparation.
Pantry items currently needed include canned beans and meat, noodles, rice, peanut butter, and hygiene products such as shampoo, deodorant, and body soap. Check the Facebook page for a complete list.
The Thanksgiving food drive and fundraising effort are in full swing. A donation of only $25 will provide an entire Thanksgiving meal for a family. Donations are accepted online at www.project66.org, or you can text “Give” to 405-289-9455.
To volunteer, complete the application available on the website.
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About Laura Gamble
Laura is President of Redbud Advisory Group, a consulting company that she founded in 2016. Redbud, whose tagline is, “First I listen”, provides a myriad of consulting and professional development services to non-profit and small business leaders. She is a certified life coach and holds certifications in non-profit management and DISC Behavioral Analysis.