(Oklahoma City) – Aug. 1, 2016 – Hunger must end before learning can begin. The Masonic Fraternity of Oklahoma, Top of the World, David Gorham and two anonymous families have issued a $150,000 matching gift challenge to support the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma in fighting childhood hunger in Oklahoma. Every childhood hunger-relief gift made between now and September 30th will be matched, up to $150,000.
“The Masonic Fraternity of Oklahoma is proud to be a part of this Food for Kids match,” said Ridge Smith, Grand Master. “One out of every four children in our state struggles with food insecurity and that’s just unacceptable. We hope the community will step up to the plate and help us meet this match so that hungry children have enough food to live a healthy life.”
Last school year, the Regional Food Bank provided millions of meals to chronically hungry children through its Food for Kids programs, which included the Backpack Program and School Pantries. Both programs provide food for chronically hungry children over weekends and school holidays when school is not in session.
“You never know what children are up against until you get to know them or have a chance to sit and talk with them,” said one Food for Kids school coordinator. “I truly believe this program is the best thing that has happened for our children. I've been here for 10 years and I can definitely tell the difference that it has made in these children.”
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. During the 2014-2015 school year, the Backpack Program served nearly 18,500 elementary school students attending 514 schools across 53 central and western Oklahoma counties, providing more than 2 million meals for chronically hungry children.
"You just don't know what this means to us,” shared three sisters on the Backpack Program. “We don't have any food at home."
The School Pantry program provides chronically hungry middle and high school students with food to sustain them after school and over the weekends. During the 2014-2015 school year, the School Pantry program served nearly 4,942 students attending 143 schools across 53 central and western Oklahoma counties, providing more than 680,000 meals for chronically hungry children.
“This special match opportunity will help the Regional Food Bank stock the shelves of middle and high school food pantries and distribute backpacks filled with food for chronically hungry children,” said Rodney Bivens, executive director of the Regional Food Bank. “Double the impact of your gift by making a donation today so that hungry children will have food tomorrow.”
Normally, a $200 gift will support a child in Food for Kids for an entire school year; during this Food for Kids match, your gift will double to provide weekend food for two children for an entire school year. To make a tax-deductible donation to Food for Kids, or for more information about the program, visit foodforkids.us or call 405-600-3136.
Established in 1980, the Regional Food Bank is the largest private, domestic hunger-relief organization in the state of Oklahoma. Last fiscal year, the nonprofit distributed more than 52 million pounds of food and products through a network of more than 1,200 charitable feeding programs and schools in 53 central and western Oklahoma counties.
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 1,200 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 644 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.