3 Tulsans who help to nourish the hungry
Meet representatives from Meals on Wheels, Kendall Whittier Inc. and Food on the Move.
Darryl DeBorde, Lori Decter Wright and Teri Fermo
Providing care means much more than merely delivering a meal, says DeBorde, a Meals on Wheels volunteer of 40 years. Meals on Wheels delivers up to six nutritious meals per week to those who are unable to leave home or make their own meals.
After helping found the Eastside distribution site, DeBorde continued to work with Meals on Wheels by preparing meals. He now coordinates volunteers and serves on the board of directors.
He says nutritious meals are an important part of caring for the community, but Meals on Wheels provides more than that. “From my perspective, the needs of Meals on Wheels recipients have remained the same: sick or homebound people need nutritious food to get well and stay strong,” DeBorde says. “The further need is to provide personal and caring contact on a regular basis.”
Lori Decter Wright
Kendall Whittier Inc.’s Emergency Food Pantry provides nutritious groceries for families in the Kendall Whittier, Pearl and Crutchfield neighborhoods. And with only five part-time staff members and the work of community volunteers, it’s a large undertaking.
“Because we’re small and mighty, we could always use more friends, whether they are volunteers or donors,” says Decter Wright, executive director of Kendall Whittier Inc.
In addition to its Emergency Food Pantry, the organization runs multiple community gardens as well as development and outreach programs. In June the organization celebrated its 50th anniversary and announced expansions to its Emergency Food Pantry services, including more locations and home delivery of groceries.
Feeding a community requires collaboration. Food on the Move, a mobile food initiative, organizes area partners and health experts to bring quality food into hard-to-reach and economically challenged areas.
For the past four years, Fermo, chef of Bohemia and Moveable Feast Caterers, has been a FOTM volunteer. She prepares meals at the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma and serves them at FOTM’s monthly events at the Tulsa Community College northeast campus and EduRec Tulsa. Each event includes pay-as-you-can food trucks, a mobile grocery store and free local produce.
“I used to say it was my ‘chefly’ duty to help with this particular outreach because I had a food truck and wanted to help feed those who are hungry,” Fermo says. “But really, it’s my human duty.”