You Needed Them. Now, They Need You
Help Our Senior Citizens Fight Hunger
October 17, 2012
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 Oklahoma, nearly 14 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.”
Ten percent of Oklahomans age 65 and older are living below the poverty line. According to the latest report by AARP on Food Insecurity among Older Adults, the health implications of food insecurity on senior citizens are comparable to an increase of 21 years in age. As a result of the continued high need for nutrition assistance, more of Oklahoma’s seniors are turning to the Regional Food Bank for help.
The Regional Food Bank partners with nine Oklahoma City Housing Authority housing sites to fight senior hunger in Oklahoma through monthly visits by a mobile pantry. Through this partnership, seniors are able to select food to supplement their food budget from a variety of options, including fresh produce, bread, meat and shelf-stable items.
“I’ve been waiting for you guys to arrive with the Food Bank truck,” said one senior who benefits from the program. “I got so excited when I saw the truck pull into the parking lot. I haven’t eaten in two days. I look forward to these days because I know I will be able to eat.”
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.
“These extra sacks help our seniors with their weekend and other needs,” said a Senior Home Delivery Program coordinator. “Our program delivers the noon meal five days a week and sends a goodie bag on Fridays that helps them over the weekend. Several of our recipients are unable to get out and have very little family support. These extra food bags from the Regional Food Bank help them with their food supply.”
Medical needs for food insecure seniors can become compromised when there is not enough food to eat. A study that 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.
Help the Regional Food Bank give seniors something to smile about. Volunteer at a mobile pantry site, or make a gift by visiting regionalfoodbank.org or by calling 405.972.1111.
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 working to 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 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 457 million pounds of food to feed Oklahoma’s hungry.