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What If Your Grandma Was Hungry?

Help Fight Senior Hunger in Oklahoma

October 17, 2011

OKLAHOMA CITY - The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma provides help to those whom many consider the most vulnerable in our state: senior citizens. Sadly, many have outlived their families, outlived their income, or have simply been forgotten.

“In central and western Oklahoma, 18 percent of all seniors may go to bed hungry tonight,” said Rodney Bivens, executive director and founder of the Regional Food Bank.  “This is simply unacceptable.  We need to take care of elders who defended our freedom, built our community and fed our economy.  They need our support now more than ever.”

Many seniors in Oklahoma live on a very limited income.  According to a survey from Feeding America, 30 percent of households with seniors had to choose between medical care and purchasing food.  The same survey also reveals that 35 percent of seniors had to choose between paying for food or rent and utilities.  As a result, more seniors are turning to the Food Bank for assistance.

The Regional Food Bank partners with nine Oklahoma City Housing Authority housing sites to fight senior hunger in Oklahoma.  Through this partnership, seniors receive monthly sacks of food, as well as fresh produce, bread and other perishable items. 

“Thank you for providing for seniors,” said one client who received assistance from the Regional Food Bank.  “I am most appreciative of what you do for me. I'm 74 and still work, but I barely make enough to pay my utilities.  There is never enough left over to buy food. Thank you, thank you.”

In addition to the housing sites, the nonprofit developed a referral and evaluation system designed to refer especially needy seniors from mobile meal programs to the Senior Home Delivery program. These seniors receive supplemental sacks of nonperishable, easy to open food items.

“I never expected to need help like this,” said another senior client of the Regional Food Bank.  “My husband and I donated to the Food Bank for years. When he passed away 10 years ago, I had to stop and now they are helping me.”

Food insecure seniors require greater consideration towards their health as medical needs can become compromised when there is not enough food to eat. A study, which examined the health and nutritional status of seniors, found that food insecure seniors had significantly lower intakes of vital nutrients in their diets when compared to their food secure counterparts.

The Senior Feeding program started as a pilot program of the Regional Food Bank in 2006 and continues to grow.  The Regional Food Bank is working to expand the program to help all seniors in need through emergency pantries, delivered meals and mobile pantries.

Nationally, nearly three million elderly persons are served through Food Banks.

Help the Regional Food Bank give seniors something to smile about.  Volunteer at a mobile pantry site, or make a donation to the Senior Feeding Program, by visiting regionalfoodbank.org or by contacting Ryan Abernathy at 405.600.3151 or rabernathy@regionalfoodbank.org.

Established in 1980, the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma is the largest private hunger-relief organization in the state of Oklahoma. The majority of those served by the Regional Food Bank are children, seniors living on fixed incomes and working families who cannot make ends meet. 

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 825 schools and charitable feeding programs in 53 central and western Oklahoma counties. In fiscal year 2011, the Food Bank distributed 46.2 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 414 million pounds of food to feed Oklahoma’s hungry. Visit regionalfoodbank.org or scan the QR code below to learn more.



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