Children and Families Participate in Annual Feed the Neighborhood Event | New

ENID, Okla. – After a two-year absence due to the COVID pandemic, the annual back-to-school event Feed the Neighborhood was back on Sunday night at the Stride Center and David Allen Memorial Ballpark.

The free back-to-school event for K-8 students is sponsored each year by local churches and businesses.

Hot dogs, fries and cold water, provided by Tyson Foods and Frito-Lay, were available for attendees. The stadium was filled with bouncy houses donated by local churches. Participants could register for the raffle of new bikes, 26 of which were donated by various companies.

One of the volunteers was John Leighton, project engineer for Koch Fertilizer Company.

“Our company emailed the volunteers, and I thought it was a good idea for me to help the community,” he said. “Kids really enjoy bouncy houses.”

Brad Mendenhall of World Harvest Church started the event 22 years ago. It was first held at Government Springs Park and moved six years ago to the current location. Families walked across the blocked street to and from the ball field and the Stride Center, where students could pick up new backpacks, get haircuts and check vaccinations.

The Garfield County Health Department was on hand to answer questions about school district required vaccinations. Brenda Power, a nurse coordinator for the health department, was available with a database to help parents with immunization requirements for their students.

“I have the database on my computer for students in the area and I can tell parents if their children have all their shots,” she said. “We can schedule them to come to us to complete them.”

Susie Hinkle of Honeycomb Salon gave haircuts along with several other stylists, including Heather Boggs, managing director of Great Clips at Enid and Stillwater.

“It’s a great opportunity to give back to the community and get more exposure. It’s fun working with kids,” Boggs said.

Brittany Juliano, director of Feed the Neighborhood, managed events at the Stride Center. Making a Difference, a local nonprofit council program associated with World Harvest Church, donated the backpacks.

“I remember coming to this with my mom and dad (Tammy and Brad Mendenhall) when I was about 6 and it was held in Government Springs,” Juliano said. “They showed me the importance of giving back to the community. It is an example of what the Enid community and churches can do together.

The Scoops ice cream truck was on hand, as well as “The House” Christian music radio, which played music for the crowd.

Tina Dutcher, of Zales, led the food service effort.

“I’ve done this for several years and love doing it for kids,” he said. “My reward is to see their faces.”

Joseph K. Bennett