Vian Peace Center
Vian Peace Center food pantry grows fruits and vegetables and also has an aquaponics program (providing fish) and a backpack program that provides for kids who don’t have food at home to take food home in a backpack on Friday afternoons.
Founder and President Richard Tyler started Vian Peace Center after personally being confronted with the great need of hunger in his community. One year from the day he decided to form Vian Peace Center, they they were able to feed 250 people (65+ families) on the day they opened. The need remains strong as this past year Vian and surrounding communities have lost approximately 13,000 jobs due to companies and plants closing. Vian Peace Center is now serving 400 families, 1685 people. Vian Peace Center has board members from different churches in the area. A college student introduced Tyler to aquaponics - growing fish in a pond in a greenhouse, an efficient organic eco-system that requires very little water - resulting in providing jobs and saving schools in the area $50-70,000 a year by giving fresh fruits and vegetables for their lunches. With each greenhouse they can generate over a million pounds of food annually. They are currently seeking funding through grants and private donations in order to make Vian Peace Center completely self-sufficient within two and a half years. Their plan is to help other communities build the same program. Vian Peace Center delivers food to homebound in the community. On Wednesday nights over 450 children are fed hot meals through the area churches. During 2012 on Friday afternoons 38 school children who would go hungry over the weekend are sent home with a backpack full of food from Vian Peace Center. They are hoping to increase the backpack program to 50 kids. Future plans for Vian Peace Center’s food pantry and youth services include an electronic library with computers linked to all the schools in the area.
Tyler says people can help by giving canned vegetables for their pantry and donations for the children’s backpack program. A great way to do this is a food drive through churches or organizations. Donations for the backpack program need to be food that does not need to be refrigerated or opened with a can-opener. Items used for the backpack program are pop-top cans of lasagna, spaghetti, beanie weenies, vienna sausages, etc. Also needed are granola bars, shelf milk (milk that can be stored at room temperature), individual cereals, pop-tarts, fruit cups, pudding cups, rice krispy treats, and other shelf stable items. To donate canned vegetables and items for the backpack program, or to coordinate a food drive contact Richard Tyler at 479-739-5351.
Tax deductible financial donations can be sent to Vian Peace Center PO Box 258 Vian, OK 74962. Vian Peace Center welcomes visitors on distribution days - the 2nd and 4th Tuesday and Thursday of each month. Tuesdays 9:30 am to 1:00 pm, and Thursday 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.