(Oklahoma City) – Aug. 15, 2018 – Thanks to support from the Oklahoma City Zoo guests and News 9 viewers, 1,949 pounds of food were raised in July through the “Pack” the Pantry Drive. These generous donations will provide 1,624 meals for chronically hungry middle and high school students through the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma’s School Pantry Program.
“At the Oklahoma City Zoo, our mission is to connect people to our world's vanishing wildlife and wild places,” said Candice Rennels, director of public relations. “Kids represent our largest audience and are often the Zoo’s most vocal advocates. It’s been a privilege to work with News 9 and RFBO to support the School Pantry Program, and to fuel the next generation’s passion for wildlife conservation.”
Through the School Pantry Program, chronically hungry middle and high school students receive nutritious food on Friday to sustain them over the weekend and school holidays. During the 2016-2017 school year, this program served 5,770 children in 167 schools across central and western Oklahoma.
“One in four Oklahoma children has inconsistent access to healthy food,” said Katie Fitzgerald. “Hunger must end before learning can begin. The School Pantry Program helps alleviate chronic hunger, which negatively impacts the physical, emotional and cognitive development of children.”
Students served through the School Pantry Program include Mckenzie, a Midwest City High School student whose family home burned down last December.
“To be honest, I didn’t realize the school had a pantry,” said Frank, Mckenzie’s dad. “But they were one of the very first to reach out and say, ‘If you need anything, we can help you.’ They gave us enough to feed a family of five, and it meant that we didn’t have to worry about what to eat when we were trying to figure out where we were going to live.”
Support is still needed this school year to help chronically hungry students. Thanks to a generous offer from the Masonic Fraternity of Oklahoma, Lezlie and David Hudiburg and David Gorham, every donation to the Food for Kids Programs through Sept. 30 will be matched – up to $150,000. To make a donation, visit foodforkids.us or call 405-600-3136.
About the Oklahoma City Zoo
Located at the crossroads of I-44 and I-35, the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is a proud member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the American Alliance of Museums, Oklahoma City’s Adventure District and an Adventure Road partner. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Regular admission is $11 for adults and $8 for children ages 3-11 and seniors ages 65 and over. Children two and under are admitted free. Stay up-to-date with the Zoo on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and by visiting Our Stories. Zoo fans can support the OKC Zoo by becoming Oklahoma Zoological Society members at ZOOfriends.org or in-person at the Zoo! To learn more about these and other happenings, call (405) 424-3344 or visit okczoo.org.
About the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma
The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma is the state’s largest hunger relief organization. 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 close to 660 million pounds of food to feed Oklahomans living with hunger. For more information, call 405-972-1111, visit regionalfoodbank.org, find us on Facebook at.facebook.com/regionalfoodbank or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/rfbo.