September 2020: Broken Arrow Neighbors, located at 315 W. College, has provided
“basic needs assistance with dignity and compassion to neighbors through community effort” since 1983. The agency can provide limited financial assistance for living expenses and utilities for those in need, and maintains a newly constructed warehouse and food pantry. Services are rendered by appointment, Monday through Thursday from 10 am-2 pm, and on Monday and Thursday evenings, from 5 pm-7 pm, for working clients.
Megan was made for her new position. “I know I was placed here for a purpose,” she said. “Everything I have done in my life has led me here.” Megan’s credentials speak volumes about her abilities and knowledge, with a Master’s Degree in Emergency Management from OSU obtained in 2012, more than a decade of experience in the non-profit and EM industry, and a wealth of compassion and empathy. “Everything we do here at Broken Arrow Neighbors is something I’ve learned along the way,” she said, “and it’s truly amazing to work with such a great team.” The staff at BAN is “small but mighty,” with four employees and a number of valuable volunteers. “I have the best team,” said Megan. “They all have servant’s hearts. They work long hours, and it is hard work, but it’s so worth it. We’re a family.”
Megan’s passion has always been to help people in any way she could. At two years old, she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and has lived with it for 32 years. She has been a lifelong advocate and volunteer for The American Diabetes Association. “My passion is helping people,” she said. “My driving force in life is advocacy, and helping where ever there is a need. Diabetes is a part of my life, but it has also made me who I am.” Megan has been married for 15 years to the love of her life, and together, they have nine pets. They call their residence, “The Q Zoo.”
Stepping into her position at the beginning of a global health crisis was extraordinarily challenging. Together, the team at BAN made all of the necessary adjustments to continue to provide for an even greater need in the community. Moving towards appointments for service was one of many steps that were taken to ensure the health and safety of their clients and staff. “Now that we are doing appointment-based services, we always know what to prepare for,” said Megan. “Additionally, our clients don’t have to stand in line for hours, and it allows for a more comfortable experience with fewer clients in the food pantry at a time.” Only two to three clients are scheduled during a shopping appointment to allow for social distancing. Masks are required at all times by staff and clients. Sanitization measures have been ramped up as well.
The food pantry has always been supplied with nutritious and delicious food choices, but the benefit of fresh produce, gluten-free and allergy-friendly options have been added, optimizing the benefits of the food pantry with health and wellness in mind. BAN’s continued partnership with Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma, in conjunction with the Feeding America program, has enabled the agency to procure fresh produce from local grocers, such as Reasor’s, Sprout’s, and Walmart. “We are trying to be mindful of specific needs, and are really proud of all of the fresh produce and salads,” said Megan. “I am so amazed and humbled every day that we can offer these amazing choices.”
Food insecurity has always been a major social issue, but the need has increased exponentially with the current economic climate. Many potential clients have never needed to seek assistance before, and are encouraged to come in. “We are here to help. If anyone is struggling right now due to COVID-19, we want you to know we are here for you,” said Megan. “We know that our clients are truly trying to provide for their families, and we are here to help them with dignity and compassion.”
For more information, visit their website at www.baneighbors.org.
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