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Greatest Gift is to Help Others

Fight Hunger This Holiday Season

December 19, 2011

OKLAHOMA CITY - ‘Tis the season of giving and the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma needs help more than ever to meet the increased demand for food this winter.  Last month alone, the Food Bank distributed 4.2 million pounds of product to the hungry in central and western Oklahoma.

“This is one of the most challenging holiday seasons we’ve seen,” said Rodney Bivens, executive director of the Regional Food Bank.  “Our food supply is lower than it’s been in the last five years, due in part to a 40 percent reduction in national donations and an increase in overall food costs.  This means there’s less food for us to distribute to our partner agencies, and less for them to give to Oklahomans in need.”

A recent Census report shows that one in two Americans are poor or low-income.  The Greater Vision Food Pantry, a partner agency of the Regional Food Bank, is seeing the increase first hand.

“We are seeing more families come in for food than ever before,” said a volunteer at the pantry.  “We have increased from serving 50 people a month to more than 150 people a month.  Donations ensure that families have food in their bellies during the cold winter months.”

To help meet the increase in need, the Regional Food Bank is turning to the community for help.  Here are ten ways to give that are sure to spread holiday cheer:

  1. Embrace the spirit of giving - 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. 
  2. Spread cheer and volunteer - Whether it’s sorting food donations or helping at a Senior Feeding site, the Regional Food Bank could not serve the community without volunteers. Last fiscal year, volunteers donated 120,000 hours of service to the Regional Food Bank, which saved the nonprofit more than $2 million in labor.
  3. Instead of heading to the mall this holiday season visit www.eataroundokc.com and get fantastic discounts of 50% off or more at the best restaurants around the metro while fighting hunger. The money-saving site will donate 20% of net proceeds to the Regional Food Bank for every deal sold.
  4. Shine the light on hunger.  Visit the Downs Family Christmas, located at 2900 72nd Ave. S.E. in Norman, from 6 to 10 p.m. through January 3rd to see more than 12 miles of lights flicker in the night.  You can also check out the entire 2100 block of N. Markwell Ave. in Oklahoma City.  More than 20 houses are sparkling with an animated light show, which runs from 6 - 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 6 - 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.  While the shows are free to enjoy, food and fund donations for the Regional Food Bank, and its partner agencies, are encouraged.
  5. Skate for a good cause.  Proceeds from the ice skating rink at Mark Heitz's Chevrolet benefits the Food for Kids Backpack Program in Cleveland County. The ice rink, located at I-35 & Lindsey, Exit 108, in Norman, runs from through January 3.  Admission price is $8 with skates and $5 without.  Anticipated hours of operation: weekdays from noon to 9 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. and Sundays 1 - 7 p.m. 
  6. Donate to Food for Kids and Receive a Gift card to Saturn Grill.  One in four children in Oklahoma struggles with hunger every day.  A $200 donation provides a backpack of food every weekend throughout the school year for one child through the Regional Food Bank’s Food for Kids Backpack Program. Donate $200 and get a $30 Gift Card to Saturn Grill.  Gift cards will only be distributed during December.
  7. Advocate. Go to regionalfoodbank.org and visit the take action/advocate page to send a note to local representatives and let them know that hunger is an important legislative issue.
  8. Collect cans and cash.  Food and fund drives help Regional Food Bank meet the needs of people in the community and can provide a greater diversity of foods.  Items most needed this holiday season include: canned meat, canned vegetables, canned fruits, canned tuna, peanut butter and rice and beans.
  9. Fight Senior Hunger. Oklahoma is ranked as the 10th worst state in the nation for senior hunger. Learn how you can help by calling 405.600.3153.
  10. Become a Partner in Hope. By making a five year giving commitment, you become a Partner in Hope and help provide the Food Bank with its only sustainable funding source. Call 405.600.3155 for more information.

Visit regionalfoodbank.org to see a complete list of current promotions that benefit the Regional Food Bank.

 “As you come together with loved ones to share and celebrate this holiday season, please remember those who are struggling with hunger,” said Bivens.  “Oklahomans in need are counting on you not just to fill their empty stomachs, but to give them real hope in the form of food.”

To learn more about the Regional Food Bank, or make a tax-deductible donation, 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 421 million pounds of food to feed Oklahoma’s hungry.

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