200 Oklahoma FFA Students Stepped Up to Fight Hunger During National FFA Week

Students Packed 24,500 Pounds of Food for Neighbors Struggling with Hunger

(Oklahoma City) — Feb. 27, 2017 - On Feb. 25, Oklahoma FFA students from eight chapters across the state volunteered at the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma during National FFA Week, which ran from Feb. 18 through 25, to fight hunger.  In total, 200 students sorted and packed more than 24,500 pounds of bread, frozen meat, frozen vegetables and nonperishable items to help the one in six Oklahomans struggling with hunger.  Participating FFA chapters included: Binger-Oney Public School; Fletcher High School; Fort Cobb-Broxton; Guymon Schools; Hinton FFA; Lawton Public Schools; Sentinel High School; and Thomas-Fay-Custer Schools.

“Being raised in production agriculture, I got to the see the raising of crops and the production of it turning into food, and now I get to see the other side of it,” said Oklahoma FFA President Cale Jahn.  “When an organization stands behind something, such as Oklahoma FFA, impacts can be made. This can be a big impact, but more importantly lives can be changed for the better because of what FFA members are doing. I think it is very cool and I am very proud of what they have done.”

The Oklahoma FFA was also spotlighted at the Oklahoma City Blue game last Saturday for their service.  FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.  Statewide, FFA chapters are also committed to fighting childhood hunger by donating to Beef for Backpacks and Pork for Packs programs.

“What excites me about today is to see all of these young people in the FFA getting involved in food and agriculture and helping people across the state of Oklahoma, especially children, have food to eat,” said State FFA Executive Secretary Kent Boggs.

The Beef for Backpacks and Pork for Packs programs create collaborative relationships with local farmers, manufacturers and processors to provide more than 400,000 protein sticks for the nonprofit’s Food for Kids Backpack program. This program provides chronically hungry elementary school children receive a backpack full of kid-friendly, non-perishable and nutritious food on Friday to sustain them over weekends and school holidays. 

Last school year alone, more than 27,000 Oklahoma FFA members, representing 357 high schools across the state, participated in the FFA Hunger Challenge.  Through this initiative, members donated 515 animals to the Beef for Backpacks and Pork for Packs programs, which produced 771,562 protein sticks for the Backpack Program last year.   Chapters also donated $9,737, enough to support nearly fifty children in the Backpack Program for an entire school year.

“One in four children in Oklahoma may go to bed hungry tonight,” said Katie Fitzgerald, chief executive officer of the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.  “That’s why support from the Oklahoma FFA is so important.  Thanks to their commitment to fighting childhood hunger, 29,000 elementary school children statewide received pork and beef sticks last year. We are so thankful for their continued support.”

Beef for Backpacks and Pork for Packs accept cattle, hogs and monetary donations. These programs are made possible thanks to the Oklahoma Farming and Ranching Foundation, Oklahoma Farm Bureau, Oklahoma Beef Council, Oklahoma State University Food and Agricultural Products Center, the Oklahoma Pork Council, Ralph’s Meat Company in Perkins and Chickasha Meats.

Donations are still needed to fight childhood hunger for this school year.  Livestock donations are tax deductible as a charitable donation to a 501(C) 3 corporation, pursuant to IRS guidelines. Livestock donation receipt amounts are based on the USDA daily market price. A Livestock Owner/Donor Certificate must be completed in order to receive a donation receipt.  For more information on how to donate, contact Thad Doye by phone at 405-523-2307 or by email at thad.doye@okfb.org.

Established in 1980, the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma is the state’s largest private hunger-relief organization. During fiscal year 2016, the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma distributed 52 million pounds of food and product through a network of more than 1,300 charitable feeding programs and schools throughout 53 central and western Oklahoma counties.

Together, we can solve hunger. To learn more about the Regional Food Bank, or to make a tax-deductible donation, visit regionalfoodbank.org or call 405-972-1111.

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.