During the month of April, the casino collected food donations from their guests and employees, gathering a total of 2,045 items.

MIAMI – Another generous round of donations from the Buffalo Run Casino and Resort and Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma went to aid the Miami Ministerial Alliance Food Pantry on Wednesday, May 9.

During the month of April, the casino collected food donations from their guests and employees, gathering a total of 2,045 items.

The Ministerial Alliance is one of Buffalo Run's original annual Giving Back Project recipients and Wednesday's donation marked the 6th year that the casino has collected non-perishable food items for the needy families of northeast Oklahoma.

“Food banks frequently receive a lot of attention during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, however people forget the additional needs of families when school is out and children are at home throughout the day. That is why Buffalo Run organizes our food drive during this time of year,” said Buffalo Run’s Giving Back Coordinator, Jerry Venis.

Along with the boxes and boxes of food delivered, Peoria Tribe Chief Craig Harper presented a donation check of $1,095 to Bobbi Jones with the Ministerial Alliance to assist in providing additional services.

Jones said the Ministerial Alliance has seen an influx of community members seeking assistance who are struggling to manage utility and food expenses and explained the services the organization provides reaches a broad spectrum from families to the elderly.

"Most people can't afford to pay their high utility bills within ten days, so we're not only helping with the food, we help with utilities, and most, we give them both," said Jones. "It's mostly families, and we have retirees or elderly people that have minimal incomes and minimal food stamps. We have a lot of those, so speaking on behalf of the Board of Directors, thank each and every one of you guys."

The Ministerial Alliance welcomes donations of both food or funds at any time of the year, which can be dropped off at The Harbor building located at 114 D St. NE in Miami.

Dorothy Ballard is the managing news editor of the Miami News-Record. Email her at dballard@miaminewsrecord.com and follow her on Twitter @dm_ballard.