During Fiscal Year 2012, the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma distributed 42.2 million pounds of food and product through a network of nearly 1,000 partner agencies and schools throughout 53 central and western Oklahoma counties, the agency said, in a news release.
In Bryan County alone, 1,737,912 pounds of food were distributed to the hungry through the Regional Food Bank’s 10 partner agencies, including: First Baptist Church, St. Catherine’s House, and Victory Life Food Bank.
“More and more of our neighbors are turning to the Regional Food Bank’s partner agencies for assistance,” said Rodney Bivens, executive director of the Regional Food Bank. “We hear the disheartening stories of job loss, declining health and other struggles. But there is almost always a glimmer of hope in these stories because, when someone receives the simple gift of food, their life can begin to change for the better.”
Oklahoma is the fifth hungriest state in the nation, where more than 675,000 people are food insecure. The Regional Food Bank provides enough food to help feed more than 90,000 people each week, yet thousands more could benefit from the nonprofit, according to Bivens. The majority of those served by the nonprofit are children, seniors living on fixed incomes, and working families living paycheck to paycheck.
This year, the Regional Food Bank will tackle how to meet the increased demand while facing financial challenges and a reduction in food donations.
“Unfortunately, the cost for food, boxes, packaging materials and just about everything we use to distribute food to people has increased significantly,” said Bivens. “Our supply of USDA commodities, while help supply food for emergency food pantries, has decreased 75 percent compared to this same time last year. We normally maintain a six week supply of food in our warehouse but have seen that shrink to a 30 day supply over the last several months.”
Donors and advocates also play an important role in fighting hunger.
“The Regional Food Bank’s administrative costs are below four percent, which means 96 cents of every dollar donated helps to directly provide food to Oklahomans in need,” said Bivens. “Every dollar counts and provides five meals to those in need.”
According to Bivens, last fiscal year, thousands of volunteers saved the Regional Food Bank more than $2 million in labor. Many businesses, such as Chesapeake Energy, Devon Energy and Walmart, encourage employees to volunteer at the Regional Food Bank on a regular basis. Many companies also offer to match their employee’s contributions when they support a nonprofit like the Regional Food Bank.
To join the fight against hunger, donate or volunteer today. For more information call 405.972.1111 or visit regionalfoodbank.org. Connect online with the Regional Food Bank at twitter.com/rfbo or facebook.com/regionalfoodbank.
The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma is a private, 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization that acts as a link through which the food industry and community may donate food and other goods. The products are then distributed to nearly 1,000 schools and charitable feeding programs in 53 central and western Oklahoma counties. In fiscal year 2012, the Food Bank distributed 42.2 million pounds of food and product to help the charitable community effectively feed people in need. Since its inception in 1980, the Food Bank has distributed more than 446 million pounds of food to feed Oklahoma’s hungry.