Community Raises Nearly $3.8 Million to Fight Hunger
Bank of America and Chesapeake Energy Corporation Match Campaigns Inspire Oklahomans to Give and Give Again
January 31, 2012
OKLAHOMA CITY - Thanks to a million dollar match from Chesapeake Energy Corporation, the largest matching gift challenge in the history of the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, and an additional national match opportunity from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, nearly $3.8 million was raised in December and January to fight hunger in Oklahoma. These gifts will allow the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma to provide more than 18.5 million meals for hungry families, children and seniors in 53 central and western Oklahoma counties
“Over the years, Chesapeake and its employees have developed a strong partnership with the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma because we believe providing food to hungry Oklahomans is essential to building stronger, healthier communities,” said Chesapeake CEO Aubrey K. McClendon. "However, today’s need is so great that we felt compelled to do more to help increase donations to support ongoing hunger relief in our state. Chesapeake is elated to hear our challenge motivated others in the community to step up and give generously to a very worthy cause.”
The Bank of America Charitable Foundation, in partnership with Feeding America’s Give a Meal promotion, contributed $2 for every $1 donated online, up to a total match of $1.5 million. This support is part of the bank’s ongoing efforts to address critical economic and social issues in the communities it serves through the bank’s Gift for Opportunity™ fund, which was established to extend the impact of individual donations.
“Bank of America is very appreciative of our customers and employees who have contributed to the Gift for Opportunity fund to help those in need who are experiencing challenging circumstances,” said Tony Shinn, Oklahoma City market president. “We are proud of our involvement and support in the community and commend the good work and impact that the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma makes in the lives of many who utilize its services.”
Because this program ran concurrently with Chesapeake’s local $1 million match campaign, many donors were motivated to leverage both to make an even greater impact on the fight against hunger.
One extremely generous donor, the Charles and Cassandra Bowen Charitable Foundation, participated in both matching gift offers to maximize its $100,000 gift to the Regional Food Bank.
“Our family has been very blessed, and we were delighted to make this gift to the Regional Food Bank,” said Charles Bowen, with the Charles and Cassandra Bowen Charitable Foundation. “We have supported the Food Bank for many years because we believe in its mission and know it to be a good steward of our gifts. Knowing that our donation would have a greater impact than it normally would because of the match really meant a lot to us.”
Oklahoma ranks among the top five states in the nation in the number of people who are hungry.
“We were married about a month ago, and my husband and I both lost our jobs a week before we got married,” said one client of a partner agency in western Oklahoma. “We have two kids and a handicapped brother-in-law living with us, so with what you provided us today, you are helping a family still have faith and hope. Thank you.”
One in seven Oklahomans struggles with hunger every day. And that number is growing.
“We are thankful beyond words for the matching gifts from Chesapeake and Bank of America, and for the overwhelming response from the community and donors like the Charles and Cassandra Bowen Charitable Foundation,” said Rodney Bivens, Executive Director of the Regional Food Bank. “This kind of giving is truly transformational, and for those we serve, can mean the difference between having food and going without.”
The high cost of food is going to be a significant challenge for Oklahomans in 2012. The drought, floods and other extreme weather conditions impacted the production of peanuts, produce and other products, which is now being felt in the checkout lanes of grocery stores around the country.
“This kind of increase in food costs can mean financial disaster for many in our state,” said Bivens. “Imagine living on $12,000 a year, pinching pennies to support a family of four, and then facing a 30 to 40 percent increase in your food budget.”
For the Regional Food Bank, the increase in food costs means the nonprofit must raise more donations to meet the needs of more people. Thanks to the match campaigns and support from the community the organization has a great foundation upon which to build.
Established in 1980, the nonprofit Regional Food Bank is the largest private hunger relief organization in the state of Oklahoma, distributing food to more than 90,000 people each week. The organization’s administrative and fundraising costs are less than four percent. During fiscal year 2011, the Regional Food Bank distributed more than 46.2 million pounds of food and products to hungry Oklahomans in 53 central and western counties.
For more information about the Regional Food Bank visit regionalfoodbank.org or call (405) 972-1111.
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 825 schools and charitable feeding programs in 53 central and western Oklahoma counties. In fiscal year 2011, the Food Bank distributed 46.2 million pounds of food and product to help the charitable community effectively feed people in need. Since its inception in 1980, the Food Bank has distributed more than 427 million pounds of food to feed Oklahoma’s hungry. Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/regionalfoodbank and follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/rfbo.