(OKLAHOMA CITY) – March 17, 2020 - In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma is using innovative methods to meet all food assistance needs while also adhering to safe social distancing practices. Due to mandated statewide school closures and overall employment disruption, the Regional Food Bank anticipates and is preparing for an increase in the number of people needing food assistance.
The Regional Food Bank encourages anyone needing food assistance to visit rfbo.org/get-help to find an agency nearby or call 405-972-1111.
“Our organization is committed to helping Oklahomans impacted by the COVID-19 virus,” said Deb Bunting, interim CEO of the Regional Food Bank. “This is new territory for all of us and I want to assure everyone that we are working hard to continue to provide food assistance while taking all necessary safety precautions.”
The Regional Food Bank is in daily communications with its network of more than 300 community-based partner agencies to monitor their response and needs. On March 16, the Regional Food Bank’s Moore Food & Resource Center implemented a new system that limits the number of shoppers in the facility at any given time. Shoppers are given a box of shelf-stable food and allowed to shop for perishables such as meats, dairy and produce.
In addition, partner agencies are offering grab-and-go models where people can come inside the agency to pick up emergency boxes of shelf-stable food while others are allowing individuals to stay in their vehicles while agency staff place an emergency food box in each vehicle.
On Monday, the Oklahoma State Department of Education mandated statewide school closures until April 6. To determine how best to feed students during this extended closure, the Regional Food Bank is working closely with schools, the state and other food assistance partners. More information to come as available.
The Regional Food Bank cancelled all large volunteer shifts for the week of March 16. Our staff is working to create volunteer models that follow social distancing guidelines while helping to meet the need for emergency food boxes. The Regional Food Bank is hopeful that in the near future it can provide an environment that is safe for a limited number of volunteers.
“We've had many individuals and groups reach out asking how they can assist our efforts. The very best way to help those impacted is to make a financial donation," Bunting said.
Individuals and organizations wishing to make a donation to assist the Regional Food Bank’s response to the COVID-19 virus and help fight hunger overall, please donate at rfbo.org/give or call 405-600-3136.
For daily updates to the Regional Food Bank’s response, visit rfbo.org/COVID-19.