(OKLAHOMA CITY) – July 12, 2016 – In February, more than 800 guests attended the Speaker’s Ball in Enid, Okla. and raised $20,000 for the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma’s Food for Kids programs. Speaker of the House, Jeff Hickman, selected the nonprofit’s childhood hunger program as the evening’s designated charity.
“One in four children in Oklahoma struggles with hunger every day,” said Rodney Bivens, executive director of the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. “We are thankful for this generous donation, which will ensure that 100 chronically hungry children will have access to food for an entire school year.”
Last school year, the Regional Food Bank provided millions of meals to chronically hungry children through its Food for Kids programs, which includes the Backpack Program and School Pantries.
The Regional Food Bank started the Backpack Program in January 2003 in response to hearing a firsthand account of an elementary student who fainted on a Monday morning while waiting in the school lunch line, due to lack of food over the weekend. The Backpack Program provides a backpack of kid-friendly, shelf-stable and nutritious food to sustain chronically hungry children over weekends and school holidays.
“My favorite item in the backpack is the fruit,” said Mark, a third grader who participates in the Backpack Program. “The Backpack Program is helpful because we don’t have any food at home.”
The School Pantry Program provides chronically hungry middle and high school students, who are identified by school personnel, with food to sustain them after school and over the weekends. The majority of School Pantry coordinators agree that the program is “very effective” at meeting the needs of chronically hungry middle and high school students; students had improved attention, academic performance and attendance.
The Speaker’s Ball was sponsored by the University of Oklahoma, Anheuser-Busch, AT&T, the Chickasaw Nation, the Choctaw Nation, Cox, the Enid Regional Development Alliance, the George Kaiser Family Foundation, Koch, the Oklahoma State University Foundation and the Stock Exchange Bank.
It’s not too late to join the fight against childhood hunger in Oklahoma. For more information, visit regionalfoodbank.org or call 405-600-3136.
The Regional Food Bank is the largest private, domestic hunger-relief organization in the state of Oklahoma. Last fiscal year, the nonprofit distributed 49.9 million pounds of food and products through a network of more than 1,250 charitable feeding programs and schools in 53 central and western Oklahoma counties. Each week, the organization provides enough food to feed more than 116,000 hungry Oklahomans.
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 more than 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.