It Takes More Than Food to Fight Hunger

Oklahoma Food Banks and Advocates Addressed Hunger with Legislators

 

(Tillman County, Okla.) – Feb. 22, 2017 – As part of Hunger Action Day on Feb. 15, more than 50 hunger advocates from across Oklahoma spoke with their state legislators about the issue of hunger and asked them to support policies that address the many factors that contribute to Oklahomans struggling with hunger.  In Tillman County, Senator Chris Kidd participated in Hunger Action Day.

Hunger is a non-partisan issue,” said Effie Craven, public policy and advocacy director for the Oklahoma Food Banks.  “As advocates for food security, it is important we raise the awareness of our elected officials because decisions made at the Oklahoma Capitol have the potential to drastically impact the issue of hunger in our state.”

Hunger Action Day was organized by the Oklahoma Food Banks, which consists of the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City and the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma in Tulsa.  Bills HB1875, HB1480 and SB506 were the main topics of discussion.

HB1480 and SB506: The Healthy Food Financing Act enables legislation that establishes a statewide public/private partnership to increase the availability of fresh and nutritious food in underserved communities, and expand and stimulate economic activity through incentivizing the development of supermarkets and other healthy food businesses in low-income areas of the state, particularly areas designated as food deserts by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  This will improve access to healthy food and promotes healthy eating, as well as creates jobs and stimulates additional investments in communities identified as food deserts.

HB1875, which unanimously passed yesterday, authorizes schools to donate excess food left over from school meals to an on-campus nonprofit representative or designee for distribution on the school site.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture currently allows to child-to-child sharing of leftover food from school meal programs.  This bill allows adults at the school to redistribute leftover food, rather than throwing unopened or excess food in the trash.  With one in four Oklahoma children facing hunger, and more than 421,000 children receiving free and reduced price lunches in the state, new approaches to limiting food waste in schools can help ensure that no child goes without enough to eat. 

“We want to thank all of our advocates and legislators who have joined the fight against hunger in the state,” said Katie Fitzgerald, chief executive officer of the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.  “It takes more than food to fight hunger – we need to work with our elected officials to ensure every Oklahoman has access to nutritious food.  Passing HB1875, HB1480 and SB506 would help ensure that children, families and seniors won’t go to bed hungry.”

Hunger in Oklahoma is a serious problem. In fact, one in six Oklahomans face hunger every day.  The Oklahoma Food Banks are the largest private hunger-relief organizations in the state and distribute enough food to feed more than 170,000 of our neighbors every week.

In Tillman County last year, the Regional Food Bank provided 197,731 pounds of food for hungry Oklahomans through its partnerships with schools and the Frederick Food Pantry.  Yet, it is not enough. That’s why support from the community and the state legislature is so important to ending hunger.

Together, we can solve hunger.  For more information about the Regional Food Bank, or how you can become an advocate, visit regionalfoodbank.org or contact Effie Craven at ecraven@regionalfoodbank.org or call 405-600-3129.

About the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma
The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma is the state’s largest private, domestic hunger-relief organization and a member of Feeding America’s network of Food Banks.  The nonprofit provides enough food to feed more than 126,000 hungry Oklahomans each week through a network of more than 1,300 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 587 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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