(OKLAHOMA CITY) – Sept. 21, 2016 – Over the summer, thousands of Oklahoma children were without access to their schools’ free or reduced-price meals. For families already struggling to make ends meet, trying to find resources to provide those missing meals over the summer can be nearly impossible.
Fortunately, children 18 and under across Central and western Oklahoma counted on the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma’s Summer Feeding program to provide them with a nutritious snack and/or lunch.
"If there was no lunch I would be very sad and hungry,” said Destiny, an eight year old who benefited in the Summer Feeding program.
The Regional Food Bank provided free summer meals at 124 sites in 53 central and western Oklahoma counties through the Summer Feeding program, which includes the federal Summer Food Service Program, and a private program sponsored by Sodexo. In total, the program provided more than 211,000 meals to more than 6,400 chronically hungry children. In the Oklahoma City metro-area alone, the program served 134,293 meals to children at 62 sites.
“One in four children in Oklahoma struggles with hunger,” said Rodney Bivens, executive director of the Regional Food Bank. “No child should have to worry where their next meal will come from. This program ensured that children received adequate nutrition during the summer months when school meals were not available so that they were prepared to start the new school year healthy and ready to learn.”
The Summer Feeding Program is part of Food for Kids, an initiative that helps fight childhood hunger in Oklahoma. A $200 gift will support a child in the Food for Kids Backpack Program and School Pantry Program for an entire school year.
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.
“A fourth grade student was enrolled in the program for a little over a year,” shared a Backpack Program coordinator. “Since being enrolled in the program, I have watched this young man make a positive transition, both emotionally and academically. His grades have improved, along with his confidence. He even represented our school at a State Math Competition. Watching him grow and become more confident as a result of having stability in his life and the Backpack Program has been so rewarding for me as a coordinator. This is why we will always continue this program for our kids.”
The School Pantry Program provides chronically hungry middle and high school students with food to sustain them after school and over weekends.
Together, we can solve childhood hunger. Every donation to Food for Kids between now and September 30 will be matched, up to $150,000, thanks to the generosity of the Masonic Fraternity of Oklahoma, Top of the World, David Gorham and two anonymous families. To make a donation, visit foodforkids.us or call 405-600-3136. For more information, visit regionalfoodbank.org.
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 126,000 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 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.