Every day, our Partner Agencies are on the front lines of hunger relief. Agencies like Operation Once in a Lifetime (OOIAL) are more than just food pantries. They become fixtures in the community.
OOIAL serves active duty military personnel, veterans and their families in Killeen. Their vision is to connect the community with our heroes in need.
Military families often manage the hardship of long deployments, the uncertain return of a loved one, and the potential injury of a family member in combat. OOIAL has molded its outreach and programming to respond to these families’ unique needs, making it easier for Fort Hood residents to make the biggest impact on their community.
The pantry is open until 6 p.m. five days a week, making it more accessible to clients who work during the day. Pantry staff space out distribution, ensuring tasty, nutritious options are still available to clients who arrive later in the day. Marketing Director Ash Wells says they even keep track of military pay periods and order extra food the last week before pay checks come in.
OOIAL isn’t content to simply offer these services to whomever shows up for distribution. Wells says the pantry is constantly reaching out to the Fort Hood community in a variety of ways. They connect with community groups like Fort Hood Army Wives and the military’s Family Readiness Group. They participate in community events and actively promote events and fundraisers of their own.
Community outreach lets military families know OOIAL is there for them and attracts volunteers and donors.
“OOIAL has no trouble finding volunteers,” Wells says. “Many in the military community want to donate their time or financial resources.”
Valentine says the best way to get volunteers is by “letting them know how and see who they are helping.”
Their community engagement strategy has shown great results. Even in these tough economic times, OOIAL has been able to grow its pantry to serve even more military families. Wells says the pantry increased its food distribution more than 500 percent in just three months this year.
And they’re still growing. Life can be tough for military families, and there’s never too much we can do to show our gratitude. Thank you to OOIAL and the Fort Hood Community for partnering with us to help end hunger.