Loaves and Fishes of Northwest Oklahoma is the recipient of a five-year $250,000 gift, meant to challenge other donors to commit to fighting hunger in northwest Oklahoma.

Myrl and Gayle Mortenson have committed to giving Loaves and Fishes $50,000 per year for five years through the HANOR Gayle Mortenson Feeding Hope Challenge.

According to a Loaves and Fishes press release, the goal of the challenge is to “find others who want to eliminate hunger to join the corporate challenge.” Loaves and Fishes executive director Carrie Sanders said the gift does not have any kind of matching requirement, but is meant to inspire other companies to also support the nonprofit food resource center.

Myrl Mortenson is the co-founder and president of The Hanor Company, a pork production company that moved its corporate headquarters to Enid in 2015. “Since then, the Mortensons and their company have been committed to addressing the need of feeding those in need,” according to the press release.

The five-year $250,000 gift comes at a time when food insecurity is high across the nation and state. In 2018 Loaves and Fishes distributed 690,000 pounds of food to feed 5,518 patrons in need from more than 2,000 Enid households.

Loaves and Fishes staff are hoping other companies will sign onto the challenge and raise $250,000 per year, to not only address clients’ food insecurities but also increase their ability to promote healthier food choices.

“Like many not-for-profit organizations, we rely on the generosity of our community to help us help those in need,” Sanders said. “This successful challenge will allow us to focus on the daily needs of those we serve, without the worry of how to pay for the food to fill our pantry.”

According to the Loaves and Fishes press release, the challenge represents a continuation of the Mortensons’ commitment to helping those in need.

“Gayle Mortenson has been an active member of Loaves and Fishes and has brought not only her caring heart but her can-do attitude to the organization,” said the press release.

“We’ve been blessed with Gayle’s expertise in the food industry and her infinite source of compassion to feed those who are hungry,” Sanders said.

Myrl Mortenson said the challenge gift is in line with HANOR’s corporate goals.

“Our mission has always been to feed the world,” he said, “(and) this challenge begins with that mission in our company’s home town.”

One unnamed company already is in talks with Loaves and Fishes to join the challenge gift, and Sanders is optimistic that desire to give will spread to more companies.

“We are grateful the Mortensons have joined our mission to feed those who suffer from hunger” Sanders said. “We hope others will agree that meeting the most basic of needs of our neighbors will bring about the security of an entire community.”

Loaves and Fishes of Northwest Oklahoma is a private, 501(c)3 hunger-relief charity affiliated with the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, is funded by community donations and is a United Way of Enid and Northwest Oklahoma partner agency. Loaves and Fishes provides food to an average of 800 families each month.

For more information about joining The HANOR Gayle Mortenson Feeding Hope Challenge, contact Carrie Sanders at director@loavesandfishesnwok.org or call (580) 540-9830. Donations also can be made online at http://www.loavesandfishesnwok.org/donate.html.

Story provided by Enid News & Eagle

Written by: James Neal