Fighting Hunger in Atoka and Coal Counties
God's House Needs Your Help to Keep Doors Open
December 6, 2010
ATOKA & COAL COUNTY, Okla. - During Fiscal Year 2010, the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma’s partner agencies reported a 30 to 50 percent increase in the need for food assistance. God’s House for the Atoka/Coal Community Food Storehouse is one of those partner agencies and they are currently struggling to keep their doors open in order to continue feeding the hungry in Atoka and Coal counties.
Through God’s House for the Atoka/Coal Community Food Storehouse, a record 350,230 pounds of food was distributed in fiscal year 2010 – a 55 percent increase in just two short years. “We started providing food to folks in Atoka and Coalgate in 2002 through a partnership with the Regional Food Bank. We have had more families ask for help with food over the last year than ever before,” said Cindy Daniel with God’s House. “We are simply not able to keep up with the demand and need help. I shudder to think what will happen if we are no longer here to provide food.”
The poverty rate in Oklahoma rose to 16.2 percent in 2009, up from 15.9 percent in 2008 according to the U.S. Census Bureau. These numbers underscore a troubling, if not surprising, trend across our state and explain why local food pantries are feeling the stress of trying to accommodate the needs of more families, seniors and children. During the winter months, as many as 40 percent of the Food Bank’s clients have to make a choice between paying for heat and paying for food.
"The economic downturn has added many more people over the last year to the ranks of those living in poverty and struggling with hunger,” said Rodney Bivens, executive director of the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. “The demand for food is outpacing the available resources of food pantries all across the state.”
Oklahoma ranks as the fifth hungriest state in the nation, where one in seven people wonder every day where their next meal will come from. The Regional Food Bank currently provides enough food to feed more than 77,000 hungry Oklahomans each week. The majority of those served are children, seniors living on fixed incomes, and working families who cannot make ends meet.
“In total, we distributed nearly 36.5 million pounds last year throughout our 53 county service area,” said Bivens. “This equates to a 28 percent increase over the previous year. Yet, many residents in Atoka and Coalgate are still struggling with hunger.”
The cost to keep the doors open at God’s House for the Atoka/Coal Community Food Storehouse is approximately $1,800 a month.
“I am an 85 year old woman I live in Atoka,” said one client of the God’s House for the Atoka/Coal Community Food Storehouse. “My husband and I were married for over 50 years we were missionaries for over 20 years. We helped and fed people where ever we went. God brought us back to Atoka Oklahoma to minister to our own families. My husband died six (6) years ago and social security is my income. God told me that because of all the people we fed, I would not go hungry. The Atoka/Coal Community Food Storehouse is part of the answer. The Food Storehouse is a “God send" to me.”
Please join the fight against hunger by making a tax deductible donation today! The Atoka/Coal Community Food Storehouse is located at 215 W. Highway 3, Atoka, Oklahoma, 74545. Donations may also be made to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, P.O. Box 270968, Oklahoma City, OK, 73137-0968 on behalf of God’s House. Please indicate “for God’s House – Coal County” in the memo line of your check. For more information, call God’s House at 580.889.2727, or call the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma at 405.604.7105.
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 374 million pounds of food to feed Oklahoma’s hungry. Visit regionalfoodbank.org to see the real-time counter that tracks the pounds and meals distributed every second.