By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Oklahoma City’s Other Options Friends Food Pantry is preparing for their 20th Annual Cookie’s Thanksgiving Day Delivery of holiday meals to individuals and families affected by HIV/AIDS.
Cookie Arbuckle founded Other Options and Friends Food Pantry in 1988. Her daughter, Mary Arbuckle, now serves as the organization’s executive director.
Cookie’s Thanksgiving is an annual event that feeds 1000 in-need individuals on Thanksgiving Day through at-home deliveries and in-house meals.
The website states, “Every $7 donated helps us provide a Thanksgiving meal for a family in Oklahoma City impacted by HIV/ AIDS. Make your tax-deductible donation today. Providing a full, homemade Thanksgiving meal to families affected by HIV/AIDS and others in need of a warm holiday meal.”
A crew of dedicated volunteers will help to provide the free dinners throughout the Oklahoma City metro area and Norman on Thursday, November 28.
Meal preparations will take place at the Sunnyside Diner, 916 NW 6th Street, and at the Earth Elements Entrepreneur’s Kitchen, 1235 SW 2, located just south of Farmers Public Market in Oklahoma City
The Friends Food Pantry Thanksgiving Delivery is a tradition started by Oklahoma City activist, Scotty Irani, and has been carried on by restaurateur Robert Painter for the past eleven years.
“We believe that together we can make a difference,” Arbuckle said, “Tuesday and Wednesday, Thanksgiving week, we do the prep and cooking. On Thursday we package and box all the meals to be delivered.
The Friends Food Pantry is the only free food source in the 405 and 580 area codes for the HIV population in Oklahoma.
The Friends Food Pantry is the primary program at Other Options. It provides nutrient dense food, nutrition formula, and toiletries to over 1,064 adults and children weekly.
Other Options’ Home Delivery Program provides deliveries to those individuals unable to shop at the Friends Food Pantry because their illness keeps them homebound.
The organization also participates in the HOPWA (Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS) Program, which was created by HUD to address the needs of persons living with HIV/AIDS and their families.
Other Options also provides prevention education to the metro community.
Donations for this year’s Thanksgiving Delivery can be made online at otheroptionsokc.org or checks can be mailed to 3636 NW 51st St, Oklahoma City, OK 73112.
Donated turkeys or hams can be dropped at Other Options, 3636 NW 51st Street or Sunnyside Diner, 916 NW 6th Street.