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Hunger Hits Homes This Holiday Season

Hungry Students Turn to Food Bank, Park Sites to Fill Bellies Over Break

December 7, 2011

OKLAHOMA CITY - For many low-income families, the free and reduced-price school meal program alleviates the stress of buying groceries and packing lunches. But when school is out for break, many of these children are left wondering where their next meal is coming from.  Thankfully, the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma and Oklahoma City Parks and Recreations are partnering together to provide lunch and snacks to students over the winter break.

“The holidays can take a financial toll on families,” said Sue Wood, sales operation supervisor for the Oklahoma City Public Schools.  “That’s why we are offering free lunch, snacks and fun programs to students over the long winter break.”

From December 12 through 22, any student 18 and under can receive a free lunch and snack weekdays at the following locations:

  • Sellers Park, located at 8301 S. Villa, is serving lunch at 1:30 p.m. and snacks at 3:30 p.m.
  • Pitts Park, located at 1920 N. Kate, is serving lunch at noon and snacks at 2 p.m.
  • Pilot Park, located at 1435 NW 2nd, is serving lunch at noon and snacks at 3 p.m.
  • Schilling Park, located at 601 SE 25th St., is serving lunch at noon and snacks at 2 p.m.
  • Minnis Park, located at 12520 NE 36th St., is serving lunch at noon and snacks at 2 p.m.
  • Douglass Park, located at 900 Carverdale, is serving lunch at 1 p.m. and snacks at 3:30 p.m.
  • Southern Oaks Park, located at 400 SW 66th St., is serving lunch at noon and snacks at 3 p.m.
  • Melrose Park, located at 7800 Melrose Ln., is serving lunch at 1:30 p.m. and snacks at 3:30 p.m.
  • Macklanburg Park, located at 2234 NW 117th St., is serving lunch at 1 p.m. and snacks at 3 p.m.

“For some Oklahomans, the holidays can be bittersweet,” said Rodney Bivens, executive director of the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.  “Spending time with loved ones is a joy, but when it comes time for sharing a special meal, there may not be enough food to go around.  That’s why we are so thankful for this partnership with Oklahoma City Parks and recreation.”

The Regional Food Bank is also tackling hunger over winter break by providing elementary school children on the Food for Kids Backpack Program with extra sacks of food and serving children through partner agencies.  Each week, the Regional Food Bank serves 42,500 children every week through its partner agencies and through its Food for Kids Childhood initiatives.   

Through the Backpack Program, elementary school students receive healthy, kid-friendly meals over the weekends throughout the school year.  Before receiving help from the program, many of these children had very little or nothing to eat between school lunch on Friday and school breakfast on Monday.

Statewide, one in four children in Oklahoma struggles with hunger and doesn’t know where their next meal is coming from. 

The Regional Food Bank is dedicated to “Fighting Hunger…Feeding Hope.”  Established in 1980, the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma is the largest private hunger-relief organization in the state of Oklahoma. In Fiscal Year 2011, the Food Bank distributed 46.2 million pounds of food and products through a network of more than 825 charitable feeding programs and elementary schools in 53 central and western Oklahoma counties. Each week, the organization provides enough food to feed more than 90,000 hungry Oklahomans.

It’s not too late to make a difference this winter.  Through January 31st, Chesapeake Energy Corporation will match all tax-deductible donations made to the Regional Food Bank - up to $1 million! Donations received between now and January 31, 2012 will have twice the impact on the fight against hunger. Now, every dollar donated will provide 10 meals to those in need.  To make a tax-deductible donation to the Regional Food Bank, call 405.972.1111 or visit regionalfoodbank.org. 

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 421 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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