Businesses, Volunteers and Programs Work Together to Feed Hungry Oklahomans
One out of every four children in Oklahoma may be hungry every day. When I think of kids worrying about where they will get their next meal–well, I almost can’t think of it. Most of us were fortunate to not grow up feeling the constant nag of hunger pains, but for far too many children, that’s the reality.
We are so fortunate that there are good programs in our state and across the nation that work to feed hungry children, senior citizens, and others in need of nourishment.
A few weeks ago I took a tour of the Regional Food Bank with its amazing CEO, Katie Fitzgerald. In one way it is a big (non-profit) business with a huge warehouse and a fleet of big trucks. But in another way the food bank, through the agencies it serves, is all about getting food to people who are hungry, one child, family, or senior citizen at a time.
Donated food comes into the food bank in a lot of ways, from a single plastic sack with random canned goods to huge pallets of non-perishables from corporations. It takes a lot of volunteer work to sort, package, load, and ship the goods to the 1,300 partner agencies and groups that distribute the food. The food bank needs volunteers every day and evening, and they make it easy and fun to help out.
The Regional Food Bank serves 53 counties in central and western Oklahoma. Eastern counties are ably served by the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma in Tulsa and McAlester. These two non-profits provide food to almost 1,800 food pantries, emergency shelters, senior citizen programs, soup kitchens, and after-school programs.
Many school districts continue a feeding program during the summer in partnership with the food banks, so families who rely on free or reduced cost lunches and breakfasts for their kids have help when school is not in session. Contact your local school or check the food bank websites at www.regionalfoodbank.org (OKC) or www.okfoodbank.org (Tulsa) for more information.
Good-hearted volunteers, supported by the business community and government programs, do wonderful work. Surely there is no better cause than getting food to hungry people. If you can help feed our less fortunate friends and neighbors, I hope you’ll find a way to get involved.
I’m proud to know that Drew will be a governor who will support programs like the Regional Food Bank, and that the business community, volunteer organizations, and government programs will all work together to feed kids and families across our great state.