(Oklahoma City) – Sept. 7, 2017 – Last school year, the number of chronically hungry elementary school children served through the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma’s Food for Kids Backpack Program jumped by 22 percent. The nonprofit is asking the community to join the fight against childhood hunger by making financial donations to help meet this increase in need. In total, an additional $300,000 is needed to ensure that children in Oklahoma have enough to eat this school year.
“Last school year, we added 5,555 children to the Backpack Program, which is the largest one-year increase we’ve experienced over the last 10 years” said Katie Fitzgerald, chief executive officer of the Regional Food Bank. “Help us provide much-needed food to children in central and western Oklahoma. Your gifts will give students the fuel they need to thrive, which means a brighter future for us all.”
Food is the most essential school supply. Last school year, the Regional Food Bank provided million meals for chronically hungry children through its Food for Kids, which includes the Backpack Program and the School Pantry Program.
Through the Backpack Program, 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, the Backpack Program served 24,371 chronically hungry elementary school students attending 500 schools. This program is vital to help students like Terrance have enough to eat over the weekend.
Terrance is an active third grader who lists physical education as his favorite subject. He said if he didn’t receive a backpack each week, he wouldn’t have any food to eat over the weekend.
“We are very poor,” said Terrance. “I’m just really hungry all the time. It’s really thoughtful that people give money for the backpacks. It helps a lot to have that food because we’re always starving.”
The School Pantry Program provides chronically hungry middle and high school students with food to sustain them after school and over the weekends. Last school year, 5,770 chronically hungry students attending 167 schools received weekly groceries through this crucial program.
“Without the school pantry I would have to work more,” said Allen, a sophomore who benefits from his School Pantry. “My mom gets some money, just not enough. This makes it a little easier.”
Make this a hunger-free school year for students like Terrance and Allen by making a donation to Food for Kids. Every $200 raised will ensure an Oklahoma student will have enough to eat and thrive for an entire school year.
“We kicked off this school year by asking Oklahomans to join us in the fight against childhood hunger,” said Fitzgerald. “We’ve had a tremendous response and I want to thank everyone who has stepped up to help. I am confident that working together we can meet our goal of raising another $300,000 to help feed the one in four children in Oklahoma who go home to empty pantries.”
To make a tax-deductible donation visit FoodforKids.us or call 405-972-1111.
About the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma
The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma is the state’s largest hunger-relief organization and is a member of Feeding America’s network of Food Banks. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit provides enough food to feed more than 136,000 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 653 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.