AmeriCorps Summer VISTA Associates Join the Fight Against Hunger

(OKLAHOMA CITY) – July 14, 2016 – Recently, the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma welcomed 37 AmeriCorps Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) Summer Associates to help fight hunger. VISTA Summer Associates dedicate time to serve nonprofits nationwide and help build organizational, administrative and financial capacity of organizations that serve low-income communities. They will receive an education award or post-service stipend, a living allowance and experience professional development.  

“Serving as a VISTA Summer Associate is a great opportunity,” said Katherine Newsome, a VISTA Summer Associate who assisted the Regional Food Bank with marketing last summer. “Not only did I learn great skills for my future career, but I also made a lasting difference in the lives of so many Oklahomans struggling with hunger.”

The following 21 VISTA Summer Associates are serving their terms at the Regional Food Bank in the Oklahoma City metro area: BerThaddaeus Bailey of Norman; Donisa Barrett of Langston; Amanda Bierschenk of Oklahoma City; Michael Blunck of Edmond; Peggy Browning of Ponca City; Sarah Bullock of Langston; Hannah Greathouse of Ardmore; Chanel Griffin of Lenexa, Kan.; Jalaena Kelley of Oklahoma City; Zane McArter of Broken Arrow; Taylor Medaris of Oklahoma City; Ry’Lee Meek of Moore; Janayah Murray of Oklahoma City; Kate Reddick of Guthrie; Lauren Sanders of Norman; Holly Sloan of Evans, Colo.; Joel Soria of Oklahoma City; and Daegan Tassey of Oklahoma City. Kristen Kanaskie of Midwest City and Amelia Schwartz of Mustang are serving at the Moore Food & Resource Center and  Bethany Beshears is serving at The Community Market of Pottawatomie County, both affiliates of the Regional Food Bank.

The following nine VISTA Summer Associates are working with the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma in Tulsa: Cheyenne Brown, Kyle Crutchfield, Brittany Graves, Kylie Keener, James Knutson, Maddie Lousch, Catherine Monterrubio, Jessica Pongonis and Naomi Roman. Additionally, seven VISTA Summer Associates are helping fight hunger in Texas and Kansas. 

In collaboration with the Regional Food Bank and select partner agencies, VISTA Summer Associates aid in program implementation, increasing access to food, hosting community sessions to increase awareness of support programs and improving the quality of programs.  Each VISTA serving with the Regional Food Bank has a unique assignment.

“Summer is an especially difficult time for families who are already struggling to keep food on the table and make ends meet,” said Rodney W. Bivens, executive director of the Regional Food Bank.  “Our goal is to provide summer meals to children who depend upon free and reduced-priced school meals so that long summer days don’t turn into long hungry nights. The VISTA Summer Associates will allow us to do that.”

Children 18 and under in Oklahoma who do not have access to food during the summer can receive complimentary breakfast and/or lunch through the Regional Food Bank’s Summer Feeding Program at 118 sites in central and western Oklahoma.  For more information visit

Established in 1980, the Regional Food Bank is the largest private, domestic hunger-relief organization in the state of Oklahoma. Last fiscal year, the nonprofit distributed 49.9 million pounds of food and products through a network of more than 1,250 charitable feeding programs and schools in 53 central and western Oklahoma counties.

Together, we can solve hunger. For more information about the Regional Food Bank visit 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 116,000 hungry Oklahomans each week through a network of more than 1,250 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 600 million pounds of food to feed Oklahoma’s hungry.  For more information, visit; find us on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter at