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Hope in a Backpack

Food for Kids Program Nourishes Oklahoma County Students

September 13, 2010

Unfortunately, nearly one in five children in Oklahoma will struggle with hunger today.  However, thanks to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma’s Food for Kids program, Oklahoma County elementary school students will be able to receive healthy, kid-friendly meals over the weekends throughout the school year.  In September, thanks to Marc Heitz Auto Family, Top of the World, Buy For Less Grocery Stores and two anonymous supporters, all tax-deductible donations made to the program will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $102,000.

 

“This matching challenge couldn’t have come at a better time,” said Rodney Bivens, executive director of the Regional Food Bank. “A $200 donation supplies one child with a backpack full of food every weekend for an entire school year.  Children are heading back to school, and we need your help to make sure their basic need for food is met.  Make a donation to Food for Kids and make a difference in your community.”

 

Last school year, 2,097 chronically hungry children in 63 elementary schools in Oklahoma County benefited from the program.  In total, Food for Kids served nearly 8,000 chronically hungry children in 305 schools in 42 central and western Oklahoma counties.  Before receiving help from the program, many children ate little to nothing between school lunch on Friday and school breakfast on Monday.

 

“We have a child who was referred by her teacher,” said one Food for Kids coordinator.  “The child and her sister live with their dad – their Mom was killed a few years ago in a car accident.  The Dad does the best that he can, but barley makes ends meet.  Since beginning the program, the girls are so excited to pick up the backpack each Friday.  This bag gives them the food they need to be healthy and active on the weekends. This program has made such a difference in their well being and has eliminated the food insecurity in their home.”

 

The long-term objectives of the Food for Kids program are to give participating children the power to learn and grow independently, and provide hope for their future, thereby giving them the opportunity to become well-adjusted and involved Oklahoma citizens.

 

According to a recent survey of Food for Kids Coordinators:

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    • 89 percent witnessed children showing less hunger when they arrived at school on Monday mornings
    • 86 percent said they had seen children pay better attention in class once they joined the program
    • 82 percent observed an improvement in children’s academic performance
    • 71 percent witnessed an improvement in children’s school attendance
    • 92 percent saw fewer complaints about hunger by children who participated in Food for Kids

 

The Regional Food Bank is dedicated to “Fighting Hunger…Feeding Hope.”  The organization plans on expanding the program until it is available in every elementary school in its 53 central and western Oklahoma county service area.

 

Established in 1980, the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma is the largest private hunger-relief organization in the state of Oklahoma. In Fiscal Year 2010, the Food Bank distributed nearly 36.5 million pounds of food and products through a network of more than 700 charitable feeding programs and elementary schools in 53 central and western Oklahoma counties. Each week, the organization provides enough food to feed more than 77,000 hungry Oklahomans.

To make a tax-deductible donation to the Regional Food Bank’s Food for Kids program, or for more information about the program, visit regionalfoodbank.org or call Lisa Perry at 405.600.3107.  Every donation to the Regional Food Bank’s Food for Kids backpack program through the end of September will be matched, dollar for dollar up to $102,000, thanks to the generosity of Marc Heitz Auto Family, Top of the World, Buy For Less Grocery Stores and two anonymous supporters.  Connect online with the Regional Food Bank at twitter.com/rfbo or facebook.com/regionalfoodbank.

 

The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma is a private, 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization that acts as a link through which the food industry and community may donate food and other goods. The products are then distributed to nearly 700 schools and charitable feeding programs in 53 central and western Oklahoma counties. In the last fiscal year, the Food Bank distributed 36.5 million pounds of food and product to help the charitable community effectively feed people in need. Since its inception in 1980, the Regional Food Bank has distributed more than 358 million pounds of food to feed Oklahoma’s hungry. 

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