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Hamming it up: Oklahoma Lawyers Donate 1,400 Easter Hams to Oklahoma Families in Need

Lawyers DonateFour years ago Noble McIntyre of McIntyre Law, P.C., saw a pamphlet in his church about a program that helped provide disadvantaged families with a Thanksgiving meal.  With a desire to help families in need and access to a listserv of like-minded lawyers, he started a chain of events that led to the formation of Lawyers Against Hunger, an Oklahoma-based non-profit organization that has helped give away over 10,000 holiday meals to Oklahomans in need since its 2011 inception.

Lawyers Against Hunger’s success has been due in large part to contributions of attorneys in the Oklahoma Association for Justice.  For Lawyers Against Hunger’s annual turkey giveaway in 2012, over 100 law firms donated a total of about $80,000, which provided more than 5,000 turkeys to disadvantaged Oklahoma families.

The most recent event put on by the organization was held on Wednesday March 27, 2013, where 1,400 hams were distributed to families in the Oklahoma City metro area.  Hams aren’t the meat of the organization (so to speak), but given the tremendous response to its annual Day of Kindness Thanksgiving turkey giveaway, Easter hams seemed a natural progression.

“Easter isn’t our primary push,” McIntyre said, noting that the turkey giveaway will remain the focus, “But Easter is a huge holiday and there are always families in need.”

The events themselves are truly a community effort and a sight to see.  At the ham giveaway, U.S. Air Force airmen, Oklahoma City firefighters and police officers, Oklahoma Highway Patrolmen and volunteers from the Regional Food Bank all volunteered time and resources to serve the hundreds of families that showed up.

What McIntyre found at one of the early giveaways was that people were showing up hungry.  They hadn’t eaten in a day, maybe two.  In response, every event now features hamburgers, hot dogs and drinks that are given away to the throngs of hungry people that line up for their special holiday gift.

Hunger won’t go away anytime soon and that’s well understood by the organizers.  But, giving a family a holiday meal can inspire hope and hope can affect change.  Here is an example: A man received a turkey at the 2010 Day of Kindness.  Almost a year later, he came to McIntyre’s office with a gift of his own.  2011 had been kinder to him and his family.  He remembered what a blessing it was to have a holiday meal on hard times so, in turn, he donated $20 that went towards the 2011 Day of Kindness.  The amount isn’t awe-inspiring by most standards, but the sentiment behind it is.

The goal of Lawyers Against Hunger, according to McIntyre, is to have an event like the Day of Kindness in all 77 Oklahoma counties.  It’s ambitious, but given the impact the organization has had in three short years, it’s certainly attainable.

Lawyers Against Hunger’s success has now caught the attention of the American Association for Justice who may look to replicate Oklahoma’s model in other states.