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Oklahoma Food Banks Oppose Cuts to Hunger Relief in Farm Bill

Calls on Oklahoma House Members to consider hungry in our community

September 17, 2013

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma  and the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma are gravely concerned about the proposal by House leadership to slash hunger relief spending by more than $40 billion.  The Oklahoma Food Banks, and their partner agencies, are already stretched to the breaking point trying to keep pace with  increased demands as families in Oklahoma continue to experience significant hardship. Cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps, would be devastating to Oklahomans.

“Many Oklahomans have joined us in the fight against hunger by donating food, funds, and their time to the Oklahoma Food Banks,” said Rodney Bivens, executive director of the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.  “However, charity alone cannot meet the need – committed public and private partnerships are the only way to truly solve the unconscionable problem of hunger across our nation. This should include strong federal support for SNAP and other important safety net programs.”

Oklahoma is one of the hungriest states in the nation, where more than 650,000 people struggle with hunger every day.  Together, the Oklahoma Food Banks distributed 65.1 million pounds of food and product to hungry Oklahomans in fiscal year 2013.

 “While we can all agree that quality jobs, access to adequate healthcare, and a solid educational foundation are the best long-term antidotes to hunger, until each of these important foundations are made more available, families still need to put food on the table,” stated Eileen Bradshaw, executive director of the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma.  “Cutting SNAP at a time when the need for food assistance has never been greater is both reckless and short-sighted.”

Food bank clients include households who have too much in income or assets to qualify for SNAP but who still struggle to feed their families, as well as many SNAP participants whose benefits are inadequate to get them through the month. SNAP benefits average less than $1.50 per person per meal, and over 90 percent of benefits are spent by day 21 of the month, leaving many families to turn to local charities to make ends meet. SNAP is targeted at our most vulnerable: 76 percent of SNAP households include a child, elderly person, or disabled person, and 85 percent have gross income at or below 100 percent of the poverty line.

“On behalf of the Oklahoma Food Banks, and those we serve, we urge every Oklahoma Representative to oppose cuts to hunger relief programs in the House’s nutrition recommendations within the U.S. Farm Bill,” encouraged Bradshaw. 

Join the fight against hunger.  Call our Feeding America’s advocacy hotline at 866.456.8824 and enter your zip code.  Once you are connected to your Representative, state that you are a constituent and give your name and the town you are calling from.  Be sure to give the name of the food bank or local agency you are affiliated with and ask your representative to vote against the House Farm Bill proposal to cut $40 billion from SNAP.

For more information call 405.972.1111 or visit regionalfoodbank.org.  Connect online with the Regional Food Bank at twitter.com/rfbo or facebook.com/regionalfoodbank.

About the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma
The Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma is the largest hunger-relief organization in eastern Oklahoma. The Food Bank distributes food through a network of 450 Partner Programs in 24 counties in eastern Oklahoma. These programs include food pantries, soup kitchens, emergency shelters, low-income after-school programs and senior citizen centers. Collectively, the Food Bank provides more than 275,000 meals each week. 

About the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma
The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma is the state’s largest hunger relief organization.  The nonprofit provides enough food to feed more than 90,000 hungry Oklahomans each week through a network of more than 1,000 schools and charitable feeding programs in 53 central and western Oklahoma counties. Since its inception in 1980, the Regional Food Bank has distributed more than 500 million pounds of food to feed Oklahoma’s hungry.  For more information, visit http://www.regionalfoodbank.org; find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/regionalfoodbank or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/rfbo.

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