Tell Your Senators to Protect SNAP!

Although not a permanent solution, government-supported food and nutrition assistance programs provide an intermediate response to hunger.  The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), previously called the Food Stamp Program, is vital to the stability of working poor families in Oklahoma.  Currently, this program helps more than 600,000 struggling Oklahomans – nearly half of whom are children.

Tomorrow, the Senate is planning to vote on the House-passed FY2012 Budget Resolution, which includes a proposal to cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by $127 billion over the next 10 years. It is critical that Senators hear from their constituents about the importance of protecting SNAP and other nutrition assistance programs.  This vote is simply the first of what will likely be many attempts to make harmful changes to safety net programs, so we must weigh-in at every opportunity.

We are asking all of our supporters to call their Senators about protecting SNAP.  You can help us track our impact by using Feeding America’s toll-free number, 877-698-8228.  After a brief message, you’ll be asked to enter your zip code to connect directly to your Senator’s office.  After delivering your message to the first office, stay on the line to be connected to your second Senator’s office.  Once you are connected:

  1. Tell them that you are a constituent calling from [location].
  2. Let them know you are calling about the House FY2012 Budget Resolution.
  3. Deliver this message:
    • I am a supporter of the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, which provides more than 77,000 meals to hungry Oklahomans each week.
    • I urge you to vote AGAINST the House FY2012 Budget Resolution.  Cutting safety net programs and block granting SNAP is the WRONG way to balance the budget.
    • The food bank will not be able to meet the increased demand for food assistance if nutrition programs are drastically cut.
    • Instead, I ask that you work with your colleagues to pass a budget that addresses the deficit while safeguarding programs that protect our nation’s most vulnerable citizens.

We will continue to keep you updated as details emerge.  In the meantime, please contact me at (405) 600-3129 or astokes@regionalfoodbank.org if you have questions or feedback.

Ashley Stokes

Ashley Stokes

Ashley Stokes is the Advocacy & Public Policy Manager at the Regional Food Bank. She graduated from Oklahoma City University School of Law in 2009.
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Please indulge us while we take a break from our regular flow of restaurant reviews to share some exciting news about what’s happening at EatAroundOKC. We’re very pleased to announce that we’re beginning what we hope will be a long-term partnership with the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. This outstanding organization battles on the front lines of the fight against hunger in our state and by supporting their efforts, we hope to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those in need.

For full details about the commitments we’ve made to Regional Food Bank, you can check out the Our Cause page here on our website.

$1 Donated for Every Voucher Sold

The most tangible aspect of our partnership is that, beginning with this week’s deal, we’ll be donating $1 for every voucher sold through the EatAroundOKC Deals program to the Regional Food Bank.

I’m not sure if you’re aware, but the Regional Food Bank operates so efficiently and with such buying power that they are able to make seven meals out of every dollar donated. So, when you buy a voucher through EatAroundOKC Deals from this point forward, you’re not only getting a great meal for yourself at a great discount, you’re also supplying seven meals to those in need.

Sharing Through Our Communications Channels

We also plan to support the Food Bank by utilizing our communications channels, as appropriate, to spread the word about their activities and ways in which we all can support their efforts. As you read updates from the Regional Food Bank in our Twitter feed or on our Facebook page, we hope you’ll stay open to their message and consider lending your support as well.

Why Regional Food Bank?

Naturally, we spend a lot of time thinking about and talking about food. As with anything in life, without balance, it’s easy to get wrapped up in our own world where dining options are limitless and where it’s easy to forget that for many people, food is purely a means of survival. We hope that by channeling some of our efforts towards the cause of fighting hunger in our state, we can provide that balance and can be a part of the solution in our own small way.

Thanks for Your Support!

We are grateful for your support of EatAroundOKC and we hope you’ll also consider supporting the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma with your time and your donations. Thank you for being a part of the discussion and a part of the solution.

Tim Wall

EatAroundOKC Founder and Editor



Hear the Call For Help

We’re only days away from the Feeding Hope and Letter Carriers’ Food Drive. This is my first time helping with this huge food drive. So much is going on in the Regional Food Bank office. Volunteers are being coordinated for Saturday to sort food at the post offices. Staff is being instructed on their role and how to help. News 9 is championing the Food for Kids Backpack Program, while the News 9 Weather Team is helping to promote the Feeding Hope and Letter Carriers’ Food Drive. Arvest Bank is working hard raising 1 million meals. Jake FM is going on top of a scissor lift beginning on Thursday and not coming down till $10,000 is raised to feed the hungry. More than 170 businesses throughout the state are holding food drives. Everyone is pitching in to help.

This is one of the many reasons why I love Oklahoma. When people need help, Oklahomans are always there to lend a hand, and we’re not afraid to go out of our way. We rushed to help our neighbors during the Murrah Federal Building Bombing. We were in New York helping the wounded of 9/11. We were in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina destroyed so many homes. And, when the next call for help comes, I’m sure we will be one of the first responders there. But, right now the call for help comes from our hungry neighbors, right here in Oklahoma.

There are 500,000 Oklahomans at risk of hunger every day, including one in five children in the state. The Regional Food Bank distributes enough food to feed more than 77,000 people each week, but this is only a small percentage of the hungry in our state. The need is still great, which is why it’s important to be involved in the Feeding Hope and Letter Carriers’ Food Drive. The majority of people being helped by the Regional Food Bank are children, senior citizens on fixed incomes and working families who cannot make ends meet. No one should know what it feels like to have real hunger pains, and with everyone’s help we can end hunger in Oklahoma.

The Letter Carriers’ Food Drive is held nationwide and is the largest single-day food drive in the country. In our service area, 83 cities are participating in the food drive. Plastic bags will be distributed by letter carriers across the metro and in outlying communities this week. Please fill these bags with canned goods and leave your food donation by your mailbox by 7 a.m. Letter carriers will collect all the bags on their regular mail routes and give them to Food Bank volunteers at the post office.

If you don’t receive a donation bag in the mail or need more than one bag, grab a bag from a supermarket to fill up with canned donations. The most needed food items are:  canned meats, meat-based soups, canned fruits, canned vegetables, peanut butter, rice and beans.

If you forget to get cans to set out on Saturday, you can still help. Make an online donation, call 405-972-1111 or make a $10 donation by texting “CAN” to 27722 (message and data rates apply). For more information on how to help, please visit our webpage.

This year, the goal of the fund and food drive is to collect $800,000 and 900,000 pounds of food to feed hungry families, children and seniors. Please remember to set out your food donation this Saturday for your letter carrier. Many Oklahomans are counting on you.

Jill Smith

Jill Smith

Jill Smith is the Manager of Interactive Media at the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. In 2008, she graduated from Oklahoma City University with a Master’s degree in Public Relations and Advertising.
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Moving From the Crockpot to Spring Eats

Its spring time! All over my friends social media sites I see comments about spring cleaning, baseball, pedicures, flip-flops, gardening, yard-work and playing at the park. For me, in addition to the above, I get excited about the change in the food we eat. Different fruits and vegetables are in season – or coming into season. And as it warms up, I move from the crock pot and oven – to the grill and lighter meals.

Below is a yummy recipe from www.eatbetteramerica.com that is easy to make and sets the mood for spring. It is a lighter meal filled with fruits and vegetables. Make it up for your family or friends this weekend. They are sure to enjoy!

Chicken-Wild Rice Salad with Dried Cherries

Prep Time: 30 min

Start to Finish: 30 min

Makes: 5 servings (1 1/4 cups each)

1        package (6.2 oz) fast-cooking long-grain and wild rice mix

2        cups chopped cooked chicken or turkey

1        medium unpeeled eating apple, chopped (1 cup)

1        medium green bell pepper, chopped (1 cup)

1        medium stalk celery, chopped (1/2 cup)

1/2     cup chopped dried apricots

1/3     cup chopped dried cherries

2        tablespoons soy sauce

2        tablespoons water

2        teaspoons sugar

2        teaspoons cider vinegar

1/3     cup dry-roasted peanuts

1.  Cook rice mix as directed on package, omitting butter. On large cookie sheet, spread rice evenly in thin layer. Let stand 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cool.

2.  Meanwhile, in large bowl, mix chicken, apple, bell pepper, celery, apricots and cherries. In small bowl, mix soy sauce, water, sugar and vinegar until sugar is dissolved.

3.  Add rice and soy sauce mixture to apple mixture; toss gently until coated. Add peanuts; toss gently.

Nutritional Information
1 Serving: Calories 380 (Calories from Fat 90); Total Fat 10g (Saturated Fat 2g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 50mg; Sodium 950mg; Total Carbohydrate 50g (Dietary Fiber 4g, Sugars 18g); Protein 23g

Percent Daily Value*: Vitamin A 20%; Vitamin C 45%; Calcium 6%; Iron 15%

Exchanges: 1 1/2 Starch; 1 1/2 Other Carbohydrate; 1 Vegetable; 2 1/2 Lean Meat

Carbohydrate Choices: 3
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Melanie Anthony

Melanie Anthony

Melanie Anthony is a Development Manager at the Regional Food Bank. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate and mother of two.
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