You’d think that, because I spend about 60 hours a week at the Food Bank already, that I wouldn’t want to spend my “off time” anywhere near the place, right? As it so happened, I scheduled our entire department to spend a few hours in the Volunteer Center helping assemble emergency family boxes recently without realizing the date was going to fall right in the middle of my vacation week.
Granted, I could have played the vacation card, but every time I thought about it, I kept hearing this voice in my head say, “hunger doesn’t take a vacation.” And, so I did what thousands of others do every year – I donated some of my time to volunteer at the Food Bank.
I have to tell you, it was probably one of the most rewarding days I’ve had in a while. Seriously. Not only did I get to do some physical labor for a change (rather than working at my computer all day), I also met some of the most wonderful people! There was a hard working group from Chapel Hill Methodist Church who shared their secret for staying young: keep busy by volunteering! There were youth groups, senior groups, families and individuals who read about the need for volunteers in the newspaper and just showed up to help.
There were volunteers as young as 8 and as old as 80. Some couldn’t lift, but they could work an assembly line; some couldn’t stand, but they could put labels on boxes; some couldn’t sit still, but they could run around and pick up cardboard boxes and tear them down for recycling! In short, there was something for everyone and everyone served a purpose. It was like a well-oiled machine.
Joe, Liz, Jackie, Jamie, Dan and all the rest of the crew that run the Volunteer Center every day deserve a standing O. Or at least, a standing “Oh My!” It’s amazing the amount of work that goes into preparing, coordinating, training and overseeing volunteers from all walks of life, all ages and all skill levels. Somehow, they seem to pull it off and, in the end, we all went home tired, but feeling like we had truly made a difference in someone’s life. It doesn’t get much better than that.
As for me – I may make this part of my vacation every year.
Ed Kelley, Editor at The Oklahoman, talks about food shortages and the summer of hunger in Oklahoma. Watch the video below.
10:53 AM on Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010No Comments
It doesn’t seem possible that we started this journey 24 weeks ago. Several of those who are participating in the Pound for Pound Challenge at the Food Bank and through our Facebook group have met their personal goals – and maintained. Some of us still have some weight to lose, but now it seems achievable.
The Pound for Pound Challenge ends on June 30th, but the healthy changes you have made in your life need to continue. Keep up the good work, ask for help when you need it, and let someone know when you achieve an important goal. The accountability will help keep you focused on your goals and the task at hand.
If you are finally ready to take control of your health, or if you have and now you have someone who you’d like to support, it isn’t too late to join the Pound for Pound Challenge. Just go to Pound for Pound Challenge and click on Pledge – then you can enter some basic information and the weight you pledge to lose will be credited to your community’s food bank. For every pound you pledge to lose, your food bank will receive 14¢!
Food Bank staff who have joined the challenge are now at 150 pounds lost! Great job everyone!
Oklahoma has fallen down to 27th place, pledging to lose 79,340 pounds! Again Oklahoma – it isn’t too late to pledge!!!
Healthified Fresh Citrus Chicken
Get 40 percent of your daily value of vitamin C with a single helping of this double-citrus sautéed chicken. Serve it on a bed of lightly wilted spinach for extra vitamins, calcium and phytonutrients.
Prep Time: 5 min
Start to Finish :25 min
Makes: 4 Servings
1 tablespoon canola oil
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (1 to 1 1/4 pounds total)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon finely shredded lime peel
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons snipped fresh cilantro
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 medium fresh navel orange
1. In a large skillet heat oil over medium heat. Add chicken and garlic; cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink (170ºF), turning chicken once and stirring garlic occasionally.
2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine lime peel, lime juice, cilantro, and crushed red pepper; set aside. Peel and coarsely chop orange. Add lime juice mixture to skillet. Place chopped orange on chicken. Cover and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more or until heated through.
3. Serve any pan juices with chicken and chopped orange.
1 Serving: Calories 180 (Calories from Fat 50); Total Fat 4 1/2g (Saturated Fat 1/2g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 65mg; Sodium 60mg; Total Carbohydrate 5g (Dietary Fiber 1g, Sugars 3g); Protein 27g
Percent Daily Value*: Vitamin A 4%; Vitamin C 40%; Calcium 4%; Iron 6%
Exchanges: 0 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Vegetable; 4 Very Lean Meat
Carbohydrate Choices: 0
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
3:05 PM on Monday, June 21st, 2010No Comments
A $25,000 grant award from Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger will fund statewide public policy and advocacy efforts this year! Through this grant, we will work to educate local and national political leaders, as well as the charitable community, in an effort to reduce hunger in Oklahoma.
The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma’s objectives include: recruiting partner agencies to engage with elected officials about hunger and its solutions; involving the Regional Food Bank’s Board of Directors in matters of public policy impacting the organization’s mission; and engaging 1,000 people to advocate on behalf of the Regional Food Bank and its mission.
We urge you to become an advocate today by signing up for information about hunger and nutrition issues on our website!
In an effort to help meet the increased demand for food, the Inasmuch Foundation presented the Food Bank with a generous $500,000 emergency assistance grant to help feed hungry Oklahomans.
Bob Ross, president and CEO of Inasmuch Foundation, said he hopes this grant will help create some stability for our most disadvantaged citizens. Since their first gift in December 1992, the Inasmuch Foundation has committed more than $2 million to the cause.
This grant couldn’t have come at a better time. We are distributing more food than any other time in the history of the org; we distributed more than three million pounds of food in April – which is a 29 percent increase over the same time a year ago.
Thank you so much to the Inasmuch Foundation for your continued commitment to fighting hunger in Oklahoma!
I’ve just finished my first week at the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma as the new Marketing Intern, and I have to admit my time so far has been a blur. Besides the introductions and playing the name game with my new co-workers, my first day centered on orientation and familiarizing myself with the daily ins and outs of the organization. Those unfamiliar with the Food Bank would likely assume the orientation was brief since many people imagine the Food Bank to be a tiny soup kitchen situated in a forgotten old building. They would, however, be wrong; a tour of the Food Bank shows the immensity of the organization and its ability to serve thousands of Oklahomans facing hunger issues each day. By the end of a tour, one wonders how such an operation is run. There’s an intricate network of people who work daily to keep the Food Bank running and most people don’t see it or even know it’s there. Early into my orientation one thing became clear: despite all the different tasks that had to be completed day after day, everyone was insanely passionate about their job.
Most of the departments were unknown to me, but despite being unfamiliar to everything happening behind the scenes, I do have a history with the Food Bank. It goes back to my teenage, pimply and awkward years – only just getting used to wearing contacts instead of my unfashionable glasses. Most of those awkward years were spent with my nose crammed into books or sitting in classrooms for hours during the school day only to return again for another beating, absorbing as much information as possible for exams. Yes, I spent most of my time nerding away as much as possible and to solidify my uncoolness, I joined the after school organization, Key Club. Admittedly, I joined not only to be with my friends, but also because I lacked the coordination and enthusiasm required for the cheerleading squad. On many weekends, instead of sleeping in or waking up to watch MTV, I drove myself to the Food Bank to volunteer for Key Club. My friends and I became very familiar with all the sights (skyscraper tall shelves filled with millions of pounds of food) and smells (to this day I can’t quite describe it) of the warehouse. I remember we would compete to see who could pack the most food the quickest or build the tallest stack of food. Perhaps they were infantile games, but they are part of my fondest memories of high school.
I volunteered here in the last year of high school and it’s odd that now, at the end of yet another milestone, the end of my college career, I find myself here yet again. This can only confirm what is probably a silly belief I hold, that all things come in circles, we always end up in the same place where we began. Not everything is the same, most of my friends are gone now, finding jobs, finding the perfect grad school, or just finding themselves. And now that I find myself here again I will hopefully create new memories, meeting new people and getting the chance to make the most of my experience at a place that does so much for everyone involved. The Food Bank has changed a little. The programs have expanded as well as the building itself and although the volunteer center is bigger, it’s still the same place – an organization dedicated to fulfilling its mission and promise to the community.
- By Connnie Lam, Marketing Intern
During the season finale of the television show The Biggest Loser, General Mills pledged that one can of Progresso Soup or one can of Green Giant vegetables will be donated to Feeding America, for every pound pledged to the Pound For Pound Challenge. Nationwide, Food Banks will receive nearly 5.9 million cans of product.
Today, General Mills donated a truckload of Green Giant Sweet Peas and Cut Green Beans to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, which will help provide 27,620 meals to hungry Oklahomans this summer!!
Additionally, for every pound pledged at pfpchallenge.com, the Pound For Pound Challenge will donate 14 cents to Feeding America, who will then distribute the donations to Food Banks across the country, including the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. So far, Oklahomans have pledged to lose nearly 50,500 pounds in the Pound for Pound Challenge. The Pound For Pound Challenge, sponsored by The Biggest Loser, Feeding America, General Mills, Subway, 24 Hour Fitness and The Kroger Co., is designed to help deliver millions of pounds of groceries to local food banks across the U.S.
You can still pledge to lose weight until June 30, which in turn will raise donations for the Regional Food Bank.
2:51 PM on Wednesday, June 9th, 2010No Comments
Great story on Urban Harvest in the Oklahoman today! Check out the video featured on NewsOK:
1:57 PM on Wednesday, June 9th, 2010No Comments
In response to a call for donations by the 2010 Oklahoma Speaker’s Ball, Tyson Foods delivered more than 31,000 pounds of much-needed protein to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma today. The donation will provide 23,875 meals to the hungry in 53 central and western counties.
Since 2000, Tyson Foods has been a leader in the fight against hunger. The company is actively engaged in food-donation events and fund-raising activities to benefit those in need. The protein given by Tyson today brings the company’s total in-kind donations since 2000 to more than 75 million pounds. This milestone equates to more than 296 million meals donated to food banks and agencies serving local communities around the country. Last year alone, Tyson donated nearly eight million pounds of protein to Feeding America. For more information on Tyson’s fight against hunger, visit hungerrelief.tyson.com/.
This morning, the Food Bank’s Executive Director Rodney Bivens, Tyson Foods representative John Ward, and Oklahoma Speaker of the House Chris Benge came together for the arrival of Tyson truck.
We need you tomorrow! We have 217 pallets of product to go out to needy families next week. Open volunteering from 9-12 and 1-4. We are located at 3355 S Purdue near the airport. You can just show up!
If you aren’t available tomorrow, we hope you’ll come out volunteer sometime this summer. We need your help now more than ever! The Regional Food Bank will distribute an additional 3.8 million pounds of food and 697,867 pounds of household products in upcoming summer months. We have extended volunteering hours to accommodate!
Contact me 600-3154 if you have any questions. We hope to see you soon!