(OKLAHOMA CITY) – Jan. 17, 2019 - The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma has organized a mobile food distribution for federal employees and contract workers, as the longest federal government shutdown in U.S. history continues. The distribution will be held on Monday, Jan. 21, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Oklahoma Expo Hall at State Fair Park. Visitors should use ‘89er Drive off of Northwest 10th Street to park and walk in.
Workers will need to present a valid federal ID or proof of federal employment/contractor status to be eligible to select from a variety of foods including pasta, cereal, peanut butter, canned vegetables and meat, fresh produce and bread offered by the Regional Food Bank. United Way of Central Oklahoma will have agencies on site to discuss additional free resources available to those impacted by the shutdown. State Fair Park is donating space for the food distribution and resource fair and the City of Oklahoma City is providing security for the event.
"Our hardworking neighbors in the federal government should not have to worry about providing food for their families,” said Katie Fitzgerald, chief executive officer of the Regional Food Bank. "We stand ready to provide them relief from the anxiety and the unknown the shutdown has brought. We’re happy to have United Way, State Fair Park and the City of Oklahoma City partnering with us for this important distribution."
As the shutdown continues, seniors and families who receive food assistance from the federal government could be forced to choose between paying bills and purchasing food. 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 this early distribution.
“We know there are people out there who need help, and we want them to know we’re here to provide it,” said Debby Hampton, president and CEO of United Way of Central Oklahoma. “Our partner agencies are ready and willing to help with any and all challenges stemming from the shutdown, including utility assistance or just someone to talk to about what they’re feeling.”
“State Fair Park was glad to answer the call to assist with this important need,” said Tim O’Toole, president & CEO, Oklahoma State Fair, Inc. “We are more than happy to be part of this effort to provide some relief to members of our community during this particularly difficult time.”
The Regional Food Bank has asked its 300 community-based partner agencies in 53 central and western Oklahoma counties to extend assistance to anyone impacted by the shutdown. To find a nearby food pantry, visit rfbo.org/gethelp and enter a zip code.
Donations are needed to help both nonprofits meet the increased need during the shutdown. To assist the Regional Food Bank, please make monetary donations at rfbo.org/shutdown or call 405-600-3136. To help the United Way of Central Oklahoma complete its annual campaign visit unitedwayokc.org or call 405-236-8441.
About the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma
The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma is leading the fight against hunger in 53 counties in central and western Oklahoma and envisions a state where everyone, regardless of circumstance, has access to nutritious food. Founded in 1980, the Regional Food Bank is the state's largest hunger-relief 501(c)(3) nonprofit that distributes food through a network of community-based partner agencies and schools. The majority of people served by the Regional Food Bank are chronically hungry children, seniors living on fixed incomes and hardworking families struggling to make ends meet. The Regional Food Bank is a member of Feeding America, the nation’s network of food banks. To join the fight to end hunger, visit rfbo.org.
About United Way of Central Oklahoma
United Way of Central Oklahoma researches human needs within the communities of central Oklahoma and directs resources to accountable health and human services agencies to meet those needs by improving the health, safety, education and economic well-being of its most vulnerable citizens. For more information about United Way of Central Oklahoma, please visit unitedwayokc.org or call (405) 236-8441.