Wishing Oklahomans a Happy and Healthy 2017

Regional Food Bank’s Fresh Rx Program Promotes Healthy Eating

(OKLAHOMA CITY) – Jan. 20, 2017– The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma continues to work at improving health outcomes for low-income Oklahomans through its Fresh Rx program.  For many Oklahomans struggling with hunger, eating healthy is not about not knowing what foods to choose; it is often about not being able to afford or having access to more healthful choices. That’s why Fresh Rx is so important.

“Through Fresh Rx, we are working to ensure hungry Oklahomans have access to fresh, healthy food choices,” said Katie Fitzgerald, chief executive officer of the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.  “Oklahoma ranks among the 10 worst states for many key health indicators, including cardiovascular and diabetes deaths.  A staggering 24 percent of our clients reported they had a household member in poor health.”

Fresh Rx helps reduce key barriers to improved health, including a lack of access to healthy food and transportation challenges. This collaborative project involves community partners, schools, state and county health departments, and health care facilities such as hospitals, clinics, and Federally Qualified Health Centers.

The Regional Food Bank places a priority on increasing the volume of fresh fruits and vegetables it distributes to its partner agencies in central and western Oklahoma. More than 12.7 million pounds of produce were distributed in fiscal year 2016, which represented 24 percent of the Regional Food Bank’s total distribution.  In addition to serving fresh produce through its partner agencies, the Regional Food Bank also provides:

  • Fresh Food Mobile Markets.  These markets provide fresh produce in under-served areas and food deserts once per month in eight locations. Each Fresh Food Mobile Market provides clients an average of 25 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Healthy Living Pantry Boxes. Pantry boxes developed with food specially selected to meet the needs of clients living with chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. The Healthy Living Pantry Boxes are distributed by “prescription” from healthcare professionals.
  • Nutrition Education.  The Regional Food Bank provides nutrition education, cooking demonstrations and healthy recipes through a full-time resident AmeriCorps member whose primary focus is nutrition education.
  • Seeds of Hope.  Seeds of Hope provides packets of fruit and vegetable seeds to food pantry clients. These seeds allow limited resource clients to grow fresh, healthy produce in their home gardens.

“I just really like Fresh Rx,” shared one Fresh Rx client.  “They’re helping people help themselves. They give you so much good stuff.  Most of it is fresh. We get a box with low sodium food for high blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol.”

One in six Oklahomans has inconsistent access to food.  This leads to higher rates of obesity, diabetes, hypertension and other chronic diseases. The experience of living in a household with inconsistent access to food may result in poor cognitive development and the development of chronic disease later in life for children.

Among households served by the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma and the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma in Tulsa:

  • 33 percent of client households have a member(s) with diabetes
  • 57 percent of client households have a member(s) with high blood pressure
  • 24 percent have a household member in poor health
  • 63 percent have medical bills to pay
  • 32 percent lack health insurance of any kind
  • 83 percent of client households report purchasing the cheapest food available, even if they knew it wasn’t the healthiest option, in an effort to provide enough food for their household
  • 66 percent had to choose between food and medicine/medical care

Together, we can solve hunger.  To make a tax-deductible donation or to learn more, visit regionalfoodbank.org or call 405-972-1111.

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 52 million pounds of food and products through a network of more than 1,300 schools and charitable feeding programs 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 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 587 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.