By: Aarika Copeland | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: April 2023
Megan Quickle, Executive Director with weekly volunteers, Paula Torrence and Mary Thomason, sorting food drive donations from the public.
As Broken Arrow Neighbors (BAN) recognizes its 40th anniversary, it is launching a month-long community event celebration in April. The resource center has been a cornerstone in the community, providing critical services to individuals and families in need for four decades.
“We are guided by our vision of assistance with dignity, serve with compassion and empower the future, which encompass our three core programs; food, financial assistance and Jump Start, our new job mentorship program,” Megan Quickle, executive director at BAN, said. BAN’s dedicated staff and volunteers work to ensure the residents of Broken Arrow and the neighboring town of Coweta have access to resources they need, including through their client-choice food pantry where they can offer fresh produce and specialty food items.
BAN is a partner agency of the Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma, picking up from 26 Feeding America partners weekly throughout their city. Limited financial assistance for both rental and utility bills is also available. Jump Start, a job skill and mentorship program, was launched in 2022 to help eliminate barriers to entering the workforce and end generational dependence on their organization.
The organization has grown over the years in response to the rising need for resources and assistance in the community, and now serves over 28,000 individuals and families each year.
The number of those seeking BAN services rose after the COVID-19 pandemic and has yet to slow as families continue to feel its impact. “People who have never needed help before are now reaching out to us. We’ve seen a 55 percent increase in just the past year,” Quickle said.
The first 40th anniversary celebration event starts with Stop Hunger Games, a team competition event held on Thursday evening, April 20th, in which BAN invites the public to learn more about the work they do through a family-friendly relay race competition through the BAN warehouse in a bracket-style team event. “We have a small staff of 6 full-time team members and 1 part-time” she said. “The volunteers are the heart and soul of what we do. We couldn’t do it without them. So, we wanted to show the public what it takes to run this place in a fun way.” Contact the staff at BAN to sign-up your team!
The celebration continues with a black-tie gala event, Hunger in your Backyard, on Saturday, April 29th at The Glass Veranda at Forest Ridge in Broken Arrow. BAN welcomes its supporters and community partners to a magical evening of three- course gourmet dining, dancing beneath the stars. and a special VIP event for sponsors. “We are celebrating our past, present, and future,” Quickle said. The black-tie gala is a ticketed event and all proceeds will go towards supporting BANs ongoing work in the community.. “We cannot wait to welcome our community who has helped make us who we are today to this special evening. It has very limited sponsorships still available and we are almost sold out already” she said. Sponsorships and tables can be purchased through HungerinyourBackyard.com
Though the anniversary only lasts through April, you can expect more BAN events throughout the year, such as the 3rd annual Tour de Neighbors cycling event scheduled for Saturday, May 13th at the Central Park Community Center. Participants can ride in either 1, 15, 30, or 40-mile routes. While children can enjoy the 1-mile fun ride where they can trail a firetruck, the more daring can try their luck on Challenge Hill — a half-mile climb of 222 feet. Rest stops are provided as riders circle back to the starting line during a community festival held directly after the cycling event. “We’ll have a community festival, food trucks, bounce houses, and even adult beverages,” she said. Entry fee information for this event can be found on TourdeNeighbors.com.
Don’t mistake the cycling event for BAN’s Tour Neighbors Tuesday, an open-door event hosted every third Tuesday of the month. Take a guided tour around the facilities while learning more about the growing needs of your community and what you can do to help. Because of an incredible anonymous donor, every dollar donated to BAN during the month of April will be matched up to $40,000. This is an excellent opportunity for supporters of the organization to make their contribution go further and to make a real difference in the lives of those in need. “As a team, we are so grateful that we’ve been here to serve the community for the last 40 years and are looking forward to the next 40 years of serving our neighbors in need,” Quickle said.
For more info on event dates or how to get involved, follow them on social media @BAneighbors. On how to apply for BAN resources, call to make an appointment at 918-251-7781 or email eat0@eau0eav0eaw0.
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