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$20,000 Bank of America Grant Fights Childhood Hunger

July 20, 2011

OKLAHOMA CITY - Twenty percent of all children in Oklahoma struggle with hunger every day.  Thanks to a $20,000 grant from Bank of America, 100 elementary school children will receive a backpack of healthy food through the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma’s Food for Kids Backpack Program this fall.

“In these times of a tightened economy and jobless rates increasing, the need is even greater to help feed families in Oklahoma City  and the surrounding area,” said Tony N. Shinn, Oklahoma City market president at Bank of America.   “We are proud to support the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, both financially and through the dedication and efforts of our associates, at a time when nonprofits are struggling to provide significantly increased services to thousands of families who are having enormous difficulty making ends meet.”

Children, who may have very little or nothing to eat between school lunch on Friday and school breakfast on Monday, are given a backpack filled with nutritious, kid-friendly food every weekend and holiday throughout the school year.  Last school year, the program served more than 11,500 chronically hungry children in 374 schools in 49 central and western counties. 

At Telstar Elementary in Oklahoma City, staff member Candi Ahrens found many students were having a hard time paying attention in her computer class because they were so hungry. A few years ago, the school implemented the Backpack Program.

"These little backpacks have a dramatic impact on the kids," said Ahrens.  "If they're hungry in class, they can't concentrate."

Numerous teachers and administrators have reported that students’ school performance, attendance, and self-esteem have improved as a result of participating in the program.  According to a recent survey of Backpack Program Coordinators:

  • 92.3 percent saw fewer complaints about hunger by children who participated in the Backpack Program.
  • 90.7 percent observed fewer signs of chronic hunger when students returned on Monday morning
  • 80.3 percent said they had seen children pay better attention in class once they joined the program.
  • 74.9 percent observed an improvement in children’s academic performance as a result of the Backpack Program.
  • 73.2 percent witnessed an improvement in children’s school attendance.

“No child should ever go to bed with the pain of hunger,” said Rodney W. Bivens, executive director of the Regional Food Bank.  “Before receiving help from the Backpack Program, many children had difficulty staying awake in class on Monday morning after a long weekend without enough food.  We want to thank Bank of America for this donation, which will help fight childhood hunger.”

A $200 donation can provide enough weekend food for one child for an entire school year.  For more information about the Backpack Program call 405.972.111 or visit www.regionalfoodbank.org.

(Photo: Bank of America employees Tony Shinn, Market President, Donna Powell, board member present a $20,000 check to Rodney Bivens, executive director of the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.)  

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 more than 750 schools and charitable feeding programs in 53 central and western Oklahoma counties. In the last fiscal year, the Regional Food Bank distributed 46.1 million pounds of food and product to help the charitable community effectively feed people in need. Since its inception in 1980, the Regional Food Bank has distributed more than 400 million pounds of food to feed Oklahoma’s hungry.  Visit regionalfoodbank.org or scan the QR code below to learn more.

Bank of America Corporate Philanthropy

Building on a long-standing tradition of investing in the communities it serves, Bank of America is delivering on a 10-year goal to donate $2 billion to nonprofit organizations engaged in improving the health and vitality of their neighborhoods. Funded by Bank of America, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation gave more than $200 million in 2010, making the bank one of the largest corporate cash donors in the United States.  As a global company doing business in more than 150 countries, Bank of America approaches investing through a national strategy under which it works with local leaders to identify and meet the most pressing needs of individual communities.  Reaffirming a commitment to develop and sustain a culture of service, bank associate volunteers contributed more than one million hours in 2010 to enhance the quality of life in their communities worldwide. For more information about Bank of America Corporate Philanthropy, please visit www.bankofamerica.com/foundation.

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