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New Data Shows 17.5 Percent of Oklahoma County Residents Struggle with Hunger

Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma and Agencies Help Fight Hunger

June 24, 2013

OKLAHOMA CITY — A new study finds that 124,600 people in Oklahoma County– including 42,210 children – do not always know where they will find their next meal.   In all, 17.5 percent of the population in Oklahoma County, Okla., struggle with hunger, according to research released today by Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization, in partnership with the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.

"Food insecurity is one of the leading public health challenges in the United States,” said Dr. Craig Gundersen, professor of agricultural and consumer economics at the University of Illinois, an international food insecurity expert and the lead researcher of the “Map the Meal Gap” study. “We undertook this research to demonstrate the extent and prevalence of food insecurity at both the county and congressional-district level. This data has the potential to redefine the way service providers and policy makers address food insecurity in the communities they serve.”

The findings are from Feeding America’s “Map the Meal Gap” study, which estimates the rate of food insecurity for both the general population and, separately, for children under the age of 18. The estimates are calculated at both the county and congressional-district level for the entire U.S.  The Regional Food Bank is part of the Feeding America network.

“We are particularly concerned about children who are under-nourished. A child who does not receive adequate nutrition may experience behavioral problems, have difficulty concentrating in school, and has an increased risk of medical problems. Lack of adequate nutrition in children, for even a brief period of time, may also cause permanent physical and developmental impairments,” Gundersen said.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than 50 million people nationwide are food insecure.

“Map the Meal Gap 2013” also shows:

  • The cost of an average meal in Oklahoma County, Okla. Here in Oklahoma County the cost of an average meal is $2.60.
  • The cost of an average meal in the Oklahoma County, Okla., relative to the national average. Here in Oklahoma County the cost of a meal is $2.60, lower than the national average of $2.67.
  • The annual food budget shortfall in Oklahoma County, Okla., meaning the amount of additional money that food-insecure individuals in the area said they would need to put enough food on the table for an adequate diet. In Oklahoma  County, the total number is $52,814,380.

“The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma is committed to its mission of ‘Fighting Hunger…Feeding Hope’ in Oklahoma,” said Rodney Bivens, executive director of the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.  “Hunger is a reality for every community in our nation, including our own.  By working with our network of more than 1,000 partner agencies and schools, we are working to together to help our neighbors in need.”

In Oklahoma County, the Regional Food Bank partners with Love Link Ministries Inc., Bethany Church of Christ, Boys Ranch Town, North Care Unity House, Christian Service Center, Dale Rogers Training, First Southern Baptist Church, Genesis Project Inc., Grace Rescue Mission, Good Shepherd Ministries, Infant Crisis Center, Jesus House, Baptist Mission Center, Mid Del Food Pantry, Ridgecrest UMC Mobile Meals, Tenth St Seventh Day Adventist, St Francis Mobile Meals, S Lindsay Baptist Food Pantry, SW Church of Christ, St Christophers Mobile Meals, Salvation Army Adult Rehab, Masters Market, The Referral Center, City Care Inc., Salvation Army Kitchen, Guild of St George, St James St Vincent de Paul, Skyline Urban Ministry, The Urban Mission Inc., Upward Transitions, Red Rock AH and Leap, Youth Services and Family Junction, Skyline McKee Center, Salvation Army Social Services, St James Episcopal Church, BritVil Community Food Pantry, 50th Street Church of Christ, St Phillip St Vincent de Paul, Hope Community Services, Phoenix Recovery Institute, Southern Hills UMC MM, Salvation Army Danforth Senior, Salvation Army Shartel Seniors, Salvation Army Warr Acres Seniors, Salvation Army Citadel Seniors, Salvation Army Reding Seniors, Spencer Church of Christ, Miracle Revival Food Bank, Nocoma Park Church of Christ, Mayfair Church of Christ, Mt Carmel Food Pantry, St Patricks Catholic Church, Chruch on the Rock, St Johns UMC, City Rescue Mission, Billy Hooton Indian UMC, OKC Metro House of Hope, Other Options Inc., Wildewood Christian FP, Tinity Intl Baptist Church, The Spero Project, Luther C of C Service Center, OKC Compassion Inc., The Education and Employment, St Luke Baptist Food Pantry, Seventh Day Adventist South, First Presbyterian Church MM, Cross and Crown Mission Inc., ROC Food Pantry, Sunbeam Family Services, Out of Love Food Pantry, St John Missionary Baptist, S Lindsay Baptist Mobile Meals, Church of the Open Arms, First Baptist Church Bethany, ROC Tulakes Food Pantry, My Brothers Keeper of OK Inc., Council Road Baptist Church, Pershing Center Supportive Hsg, Red Rock Park View Place, Hillcrest Pentecostal Church, Friendship PH, Putnam City UMC FP, Putnam City UMC MM, St Charles Borromeo Pantry, Red Rock Childrens Crisis Unit, Neighborhood Services Org, first Baptist Nicoma Park, Graceway Baptist Church, OK Foundation for the Disabled, Effective Transitions Inc., Novo Ministries, Bible Methodist Church, Harrah Free Will Baptist, Catholic Charities, Corpus Christi Catholic Church, Bethal Foundation, Route 66 Project, Douglas Boulevard UMC, Expression Street Outreach, SON Ministries, Edmond Grace Fellowship, UCO Central Pantry and NE Health and Wellness Center to fight hunger.

This is the third year that Feeding America has conducted the “Map the Meal Gap” study. The findings of "Map the Meal Gap" are based on statistics collected by the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; food price data and analysis were provided by Nielsen (NYSE: NLSN), a global information and measurement company providing insights into what consumers watch and buy. The study was generously supported by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Nielsen and The ConAgra Foods Foundation.

Prior to the study’s first release in March 2011, food insecurity data was only available at the state level in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s annual report. The study further analyzes each county's food insecure population to determine their income eligibility for federal nutrition assistance, and also provides meal cost estimates for every county in the nation.

Together we can solve hunger.  To learn more, or to make a donation, visit regionalfoodbank.org or call 405.604.7111.  Every dollar donated to the Regional Food Bank will provide five meals to hungry Oklahomans. 

About the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma
The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma is the state’s largest hunger relief organization.  The nonprofit provides enough food to feed more than 90,000 hungry Oklahomans each week through a network of more than 1,000 schools and charitable feeding programs in 53 central and western Oklahoma counties. Since its inception in 1980, the Regional Food Bank has distributed more than 480 million pounds of food to feed Oklahoma’s hungry.  For more information, visit http://www.regionalfoodbank.org; find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/regionalfoodbank or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/rfbo. 

About Feeding America
Feeding America is a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States. Together, we provide food to more than 37 million people through 61,000 food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters in communities across America. Feeding America also supports programs that improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate.  Together we can solve hunger. Visit http://www.feedingamerica.org/. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FeedingAmerica or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/FeedingAmerica.

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