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Holiday Events Shine Light on Hunger

Holiday Lights and Ice Rink Raise Donations for Hungry Oklahomans

December 14, 2011

OKLAHOMA CITY - This winter, it’s easy to get in the holiday spirit while fighting hunger with the spirit of giving. Grab friends, family members and a donation for the Regional Food Bank and get ready to have some holiday fun.

Proceeds from the ice skating rink at Marc Heitz Chevrolet, located at I-35 & Lindsey in Norman, benefit the Regional Food Bank’s Food for Kids Backpack program.  The Backpack Program provides chronically hungry elementary school children with backpacks filled with non-perishable, kid-friendly food to eat on weekends and school holidays.  Admission to the ice rink is $8 with skates and $5 without.  The rink is open weekdays from noon to 9 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. and Sundays 1 to 7 p.m. 

While in Norman, check out the Downs Family Christmas, a spectacular light show featuring more than 200,000 LED lights (12.5 miles).  This annual light show is free, but homeowners Kimberli and Chuck Downs encourage spectators to spread holiday cheer by donating money or a nonperishable food donation to the Regional Food Bank.  The light show runs 6 p.m. to midnight and is located at 2900 72nd Ave S.E. in Norman.  Over the last three years, the Downs Family Christmas food and fund drive has raised more than $50,000 and 20,000 pounds of food for hungry Oklahomans.

The Markwell neighborhood in Oklahoma City is also shining a light on hunger.  The entire 2100 block of N. Markwell Avenue in Oklahoma City, more than 20 houses, will be sparkling with dancing holiday lights.  The animated light show runs from 6 to 9 p.m.  Sunday through Thursday and 6 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.  All donations benefit Putnam City West High School’s food pantry.  The light show runs through January 3.

Oklahoma is the fifth hungriest state in the nation, where one in four children struggles with hunger every day.  The Regional Food Bank’s partner agencies are reporting a significant increase in need this holiday season. 

“More families have been coming in since March,” said a representative from the Greater Vision Food Pantry.  “We have gone from about 50 people a month to 150 people a month.  The donations we receive ensure families have food in their bellies.”

To help meet the increase in need, the Regional Food Bank is turning to the community for help.  Through January 31, Chesapeake Energy Corporation will match all tax-deductible donations made to the Regional Food Bank - up to $1 million! Donations received between now and January 31, 2012 will have twice the impact on the fight against hunger. Now, every dollar donated will provide 10 meals to those in need. 

Most needed nonperishable items include: canned meats, vegetables and fruit; peanut butter; and rice and beans.

To learn more about the Regional Food Bank, or make a tax-deductible donation, visit regionalfoodbank.org or call 405.604.7111.

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 421 million pounds of food to feed Oklahoma’s hungry.


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