(OKLAHOMA CITY) – Jan. 22, 2019 – The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma distributed 30,200 pounds of food to 755 households impacted by the federal government shutdown. Held at State Fair Park on Monday, Jan. 21, the distribution served federal employees and contractors who are either working without being paid or are furloughed in what is the nation’s longest government shutdown. In all, the food distribution served more than 2,600 Oklahomans.
With the help of 250 volunteers, the Regional Food Bank distributed shelf-stable food including pasta, cereal, peanut butter, canned vegetables and meat, fresh produce and bread. Workers presented a valid federal ID or proof of employment to participate.
"It's hard to see our neighbors in the federal government struggling during the shutdown," said Katie Fitzgerald, chief executive officer of the Regional Food Bank. "We hope this event helped to ease their burden just a bit as they are forced to make tough decisions without knowing when their next paycheck will come.
“I want to thank all the nonprofits who participated and to State Fair Park who donated the space for the event,” Fitzgerald added. “Also, we are thankful to Jersey Mike’s for providing lunch for our hardworking volunteers and staff.”
In addition to the food distribution, United Way of Central Oklahoma and several of its agencies provided additional information on available free resources. Infant Crisis Services distributed free diapers, wipes, formula baby food while Feed the Children distributed personal hygiene items such as laundry soap, toilet paper, shampoo and dish soap.
The USDA recently ordered states to provide February benefits to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients on Jan. 20. No funding is currently available for SNAP in March and it is widely expected that SNAP recipients will run short on benefits in February due to the early distribution.
For more information about food assistance sites, visit rfbo.org/gethelp and type in a zip code to find the nearest food pantry. Monetary donations can be made by visiting rfbo.org/shutdown or by calling 405-600-3136.