It Takes More Than Food to Fight Hunger

Oklahoma Food Banks and Advocates Addressed Hunger at State Capitol

Click to download photos from Hunger Action Day

(OKLAHOMA CITY) – March 2, 2016 – Last week, more than 50 supporters of the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma and Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma joined forces to fight hunger in the state.  As part of Hunger Action Day, Oklahomans from across the state spoke with their state legislators about the issue of hunger and asked them to work together to solve hunger in Oklahoma.

Participating legislative members from Oklahoma County included: Representatives Charlie Joyner, Cyndi Munson, Elise Hall, Gary Banz, George Young, Jason Dunnington, Jason Murphey, John Enns, Kevin Calvey, Lewis Moore, Marian Cooksey, Mike Christian, Paul Wesselhoft, Sally Kern, Scott Inman and Shane Stone.  Senators David Holt, Ervin Yen, Kay Floyd, Kyle Loveless and Rob Standridge also participated in Hunger Action Day.

“One in six Oklahomans faces hunger every day,” said Rodney Bivens, executive director of the Regional Food Bank.  “It takes more than food to fight hunger – we need to work with our elected officials to ensure every Oklahoman has access to nutritious food.”

As part of Hunger Action Day, supporters spoke with representatives about supporting HB2349.  This bill, which recently passed, addresses the important issue of food insecurity among military service members and veterans in the state. HB2349 removes veterans’ disability compensation from being included as gross household income in order to receive a homestead exemption of $1,000 for households whose income does not exceed $20,000 annually.

“The nation’s heroes are not immune to hunger and poverty,” said Bivens.  “The passage of HB2349 would directly assist Oklahoma veterans and send an important message that the benefits our veterans receive should not count against them.”

Statewide, the Oklahoma Food Banks are the largest private hunger-relief organizations in the state. The Food Banks are the single most important source of food for Oklahoma’s hunger relief agencies, accounting for 61 percent of the food used by pantries, soup kitchens and shelters.

The Regional Food Bank provides enough food to feed 116,000 Oklahomans every week, 37 percent of whom are children.  The Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma distributes more than 346,000 meals per week.

“Hunger is a non-partisan issue,” said Effie Craven, public policy and advocacy director for the Oklahoma Food Banks.  “As advocates for food security, it is important we raise the awareness of our elected officials because decisions made at the Oklahoma Capitol have the potential to drastically impact the issue of hunger in our state.”

Hunger Action Day was a huge success thanks to the dedicated volunteers who lent their voice to raise awareness about hunger in the state.

“What a great experience to participate in this year’s Hunger Day,” said Sharon Neuwald, board member of the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.  “I can think of nothing more important and critical than to tell the stories of individuals facing hunger issues in our state.  This year’s support for Oklahoma’s veterans with disabilities is a great honor to give back to those who have given so much for our country.”

For more information about how you can get involved and help Oklahoma’s veterans who are struggling with hunger, contact Effie Craven at ecraven@regionalfoodbank.org or call 405.600.3129.

Together, we can solve hunger. Through April 30th, the Charles and Cassandra Bowen Charitable Foundation and two anonymous families are offering to match every dollar given toward senior hunger relief, up to $120,000.  To make a donation, visit feedokseniors.org or call 405.600.3136. 

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 nearly 600 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.

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