We had a dedication ceremony and open house of our new Volunteer Center at the Food Bank a couple of weeks ago, it was kind of strange to stop and look back to where we started and where we are today.
In some ways it’s like a dream and in other ways it’s like it was just yesterday. Thirty years ago, we were picking up food from the back of Safeway grocery stores in a blue half-ton pickup. It was me and two Vista volunteers – there were many nights that we slept at the food bank so we’d be there to meet a truck in the middle of the night because the freight was free, and “free” was something we looked for a lot in those early days! We used to rent U-Hall trucks and drive to Dallas to pick up food that we’d distribute the next day.
Those were long hours and hard work, but also extremely fulfilling because we knew we were making a difference in someone’s life. And you might think that, thirty years later, some of that feeling and some of that driving passion for helping people might have faded, but the truth is – we feel it even more strongly today.
We’re delivering food to every corner of our 53 county service area in central and western Oklahoma and will likely distribute close to 3 million pounds each and every month this year. We’ll provide a safe haven for some 850 low-income children after school and we’ll provide backpacks of food to 9,000 chronically hungry elementary children this year. We’ll provide food to families who are struggling to make ends meet and we’ll deliver fresh produce and supplemental food to seniors in our state. With the new volunteer center, our 15,000+ volunteers will finally have a great workspace to package even more family boxes and Food 4 Kids boxes as the demand continues to grow.
It’s been a fun, interesting, humbling and challenging journey we have found ourselves on. Through our simple act of kindness – through our simple act of providing food, we have changed lives – we have provided hope. I thank each and every one of our donors, our volunteers, our corporate partners, our board members and our staff for being a part of our past, our present and our future.
It is my honor and privilege to serve you and it is a job that is not complete. We have the ability and the determination to make sure that no child, no senior, no family ever again goes without food in Oklahoma – to do less is unthinkable.
- Rodney Bivens, Executive Director