Hundreds of families received groceries to help with holiday meals as part of an annual distribution event outside the Iron Gate soup kitchen Saturday morning.

The seventh-annual Live Local, Give Local event provided 750 families with a turkey and grocery bags stuffed with 30 items ranging from gravy and green beans to potatoes, Live Local, Give Local co-founder Hugh Robert said.

The event, which ran from about 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., was sponsored in part by the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma, Emergency Infant Services, Iron Gate and Lawyers Fighting Hunger, Robert said.

Families lined up around the block along Sixth Street outside Trinity Episcopal Church, 501 S. Cincinnati Ave., where Iron Gate is located, to receive the bags of food well before 11 a.m.

Robert said the turkey giveaway was meant to help families who must make choices between buying their medicines and eating, or between turning on the heater and eating.

The grocery bags included enough food to feed a family of four for three days, he said.

“You know, really, it’s about providing a meal that many of us take for granted,” Robert said.

About 55 volunteers from various organizations helped at the event, which included free hamburgers and hot dogs provided by Arnie’s Bar, Robert said.

Elysia Robinson, 35, was volunteering at the event through Lawyers Fighting Hunger. She said she’s participated over the last five years.

“It’s very humbling. It reminds you just how blessed you truly are,” she said.

Robinson said working at the event has shown her how easily people can fall into a life situation where they need help.

“It could be any of us,” she said.

Nikki Hughes, 22, and Joshua Evans, 24, were among those receiving groceries at the event.

Hughes said she recently moved to Tulsa, and that after being homeless for a short time, she and Evans found an apartment together.

Even though they have a home, Hughes said making ends meet while having to pay security deposits and while the weather prevents them from working as roofers is challenging.

She said getting the Thanksgiving meal lessens her worries.

“It’s going to make it easier on me — less stressful,” Hughes said.

The two found out about the Thanksgiving giveaway when they received food from the food bank.

Hughes said she’s going to use the groceries to make a Thanksgiving meal for her family, who plans to visit from North Carolina over the holiday.

“I want to be able to cook for my dad like I used to, and it’s just going to help out with that,” she said.

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Paighten Harkins 918-581-8455

paighten.harkins@tulsaworld.com

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