(OKLAHOMA CITY) – May 27, 2020 - The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma has partnered with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide emergency food boxes to individuals who test for COVID-19 at health departments in 28 Oklahoma counties.
Through the USDA's Disaster Household Distributions, the Regional Food Bank provides the boxes full of shelf-stable, non-perishable food to individuals being tested for COVID-19 who state they are food insecure. Over the last 30 days, emergency food boxes have been provided to more than 4,880 individuals.
"This partnership is very integral to our response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Deb Bunting, interim CEO of the Regional Food Bank. “Not only does it get much-needed food to Oklahomans who are suffering from food insecurity, it works to limit potential spread of the virus."
During the testing process, individuals are asked screening questions to determine if they need food assistance. Individuals are provided enough food to help feed their families for two weeks.
Thanks to an extension from the USDA, the program will continue at testing sites through the end of June. For more information about the program, please reach out to your county health department.
Health departments in the following counties offer emergency food boxes during COVID-19 testing:
The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma continues to work with the USDA and the Oklahoma State Department of Education to open free meal sites for children. Forty sites are currently open with many more expected to open in the coming weeks.
“These meal sites are important to ensure Oklahoma children continue to receive the nutrition they need to thrive and grow,” said Deb Bunting, interim CEO of the Regional Food Bank. “We appreciate the hard work of the State Department of Education and the USDA on helping get these sites open.”
To find a meal site near you, please visit rfbo.org/summermeals. Any child, up to the age of 18, is eligible to receive a free meal and snack each weekday. Out of an abundance of caution, the meals are provided in a grab-and-go fashion so children or their parents can safely pick up the meals and return home.
For general food assistance, visit rfbo.org/get-help or call 405-972-1111.
After getting food from the Reaching Our Center pantry, a passenger is helped onto a bus by an EMBARK driver.
The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma is partnering with EMBARK, the Community Action Agency of Oklahoma City and Bonnie’s Helping Hands to deliver emergency food boxes to homebound seniors.
“This is another great example of collaboration to provide food assistance to a vulnerable population,” said Deb Bunting, interim CEO of the Regional Food Bank. “The COVID-19 pandemic has altered many things that we do but it will not stop us from distributing food, so we are thankful to EMBARK and the Community Action Agency for their willingness to work together.”
The Regional Food Bank provides the food to Bonnie’s Helping Hands, a partner agency that serves low-income seniors in northeast Oklahoma City. The nonprofit’s volunteers then pack the food boxes for the people they serve. EMBARK coordinates the delivery of the food boxes that are delivered by CAA drivers.
Seniors in need of food assistance should call the Regional Food Bank at 405-600-3164.
In the month of April, the Regional Food Bank distributed 6.2 million pounds of food, a new record for amount of food distributed in a single month. On average, the Regional Food Bank has been distributing on average 4.7 million pounds a month.
“The growing need for food assistance is real and the Regional Food Bank is responding to that need,” said Deb Bunting, interim CEO of the Regional Food Bank. “Although businesses are reopening, we anticipate that the need will continue and possibly increase. It will take a long time for many households to fully recover from the economic impact of both the COVID-19 pandemic and the slumping energy industry.”
Nearly 300 community-based partner agencies of the Regional Food Bank remain open and providing food assistance. Anyone in need of food assistance should visit rfbo.org/get-help to find a nearby food pantry or call 405-972-1111.
Food for Kids Update
The Regional Food Bank continues to open free meal sites for children up to the age of 18. In the month of April, the Regional Food Bank provided more than 26,000 meals and snacks. To find a meal site in your community, visit rfbo.org/summermeals. If you’re looking for a meal site in eastern Oklahoma, visit www.food4kidsOK.org.
Giving Tuesday Now
A global threat like COVID-19 touches every person on the planet, and it presents an opportunity to come together as a global community. Giving Tuesday Now is a new global day of giving and unity that will take place on May 5 – in addition to the regularly scheduled Dec 1, 2020 Giving Tuesday – as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19. Gifts to support the Regional Food Bank can be made at rfbo.org/give or call 405-600-3136.
Founded in 1980, the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma is the state’s largest hunger-relief nonprofit, serving 53 counties in central and western Oklahoma. The Regional Food Bank works with more than 1,300 community-based partner agencies to provide food assistance to chronically hungry children, seniors living on limited incomes and hardworking families struggling to make ends meet. Each week, the Regional Food Bank distributes 1 million pounds of food including fresh produce.
The Regional Food Bank is a food-delivery model food bank. Our service area covers 53 counties in central and western Oklahoma, a 48,000-square-mile region. Partner agencies access an online ordering system to order needed food and the Regional Food Bank delivers the orders based upon a pre-established delivery schedule.