I’m really looking forward to getting together with family and friends around a great meal for Thanksgiving tomorrow. But I can’t help but think about the thousands of families here in central and western Oklahoma who won’t have enough to eat.
The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma is committed to ensuring every Oklahoman has a reason to celebrate this holiday season – including the opportunity to gather around the table with loved ones for a special meal. No one should go without during the holidays.
Because of the great need we’re facing, Chesapeake Energy has generously offered to match your holiday giving to the Regional Food Bank – up to $50,000 – until December 31. Normally, every $1 you give becomes 7 meals for those in need. But through this matching gift challenge, every $1 will provide 14 meals!
Thank you for all you do. I hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful holiday season!
- Rodney Bivens, Executive Director
The totals are in, and the Lawton Rock-a-Thon earlier this month raised over $12,000 for Food 4 Kids in Lawton!
The Rock-A-Thon is organized by Jonathan Crider, a Central High School Junior, who has raised more than $50,000 for the Food 4 Kids backpack program in Lawton over the last several years. In 2007, more than 100 people participated, raising more than $15,000.
Crider first became involved with Food 4 Kids when he was 11 years old after hearing a radio Public Service Announcement about the backpack program. He has done everything from mowing lawns, working at construction sites and holding penny drives to help raise money for children in need. Crider was awarded the Outstanding Youth Philanthropist by the local Association of Fundraising Professionals and was recognized for his outstanding efforts to fight childhood hunger by the international organization, OneXOne, at a star-studded event in San Francisco in 2008. (Just look at these photos! Yes, that’s David Arquette!)
He has two additional fundraising events coming soon, too! What an amazing young man!
12:11 PM on Wednesday, November 25th, 2009No Comments
Cherokee Nation Entertainment and Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa donated nearly 600 frozen turkeys to feed Oklahomans this Thanksgiving this morning!! We have many agencies on the waiting list for turkeys, and this will help fill some of the gap!
Advocacy Alert: White House, USDA, National Service Agency, Launch Targeted Initiative to Address Hunger
11:41 AM on Wednesday, November 25th, 2009No Comments
Washington, DC – The Corporation for National and Community Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the White House joined together to launch the United We Serve: Feed A Neighbor initiative today to help combat hunger this winter. The new initiative raises awareness of hunger issues and equips American with the resources to mobilize against the hunger crisis.
On a conference call today, Nicola Goren, Acting CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Special Assistant to the President Joshua DuBois made clear the need for immediate action to address hunger and discussed how United We Serve: Feed A Neighbor would engage American in combating the problem.
“Hunger has reached crisis levels for far too many in this country,” said Nicola Goren. “The need can seem overwhelming, but it’s not insurmountable. This initiative provides individuals with the tools to identify needs in their community and ways they can ensure that their neighbors have enough to eat.”
Feed A Neighbor is part of President Obama’s national call to service, the United We Serve initiative, and the Administration’s answer to hunger. The two major components of the initiative include an anti-hunger volunteer toolkit (PDF) developed by USDA that provides information about how individuals can directly and immediately affect hunger and access to service opportunities in their local community on Serve.gov. This intensified effort is part of the Corporation and USDA’s year-round commitment to support anti-hunger programs in communities across the country, and is scheduled to run from Thanksgiving Day through Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, January 18.
The initiative comes at a time when the USDA reports that the current level of hunger in America is at the highest it has been since 1995. The 2008 Household Food Security Report found that the number of households experiencing food insecurity jumped more than 11% from 13 million households in 2007 to 17 million in 2008, and that an estimated 1.1 million children lived in households that experienced hunger multiple times throughout the year. Additionally, national anti-hunger organizations recently reported that the need for emergency food assistance is up 30% compared to last year and over half of the nation’s food banks have had to turn people away. 1 in 5 Americans currently participate in USDA’s nutrition assistance programs.
“The unsettling USDA report showing more than 49 million Americans were at risk to go hungry in 2008 highlights the challenge of domestic hunger; a problem that the American sense of fairness should not tolerate and American ingenuity can overcome,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “While the Department of Agriculture’s nutrition assistance programs provide a safety net that improves food access to those with critical needs, to end hunger in our country we must work together. The United We Serve: Feed A Neighbor volunteer initiative and toolkit provide great ideas for how Americans can make an impact and combat hunger in their own communities.”
President Obama reiterated his commitment to eliminating childhood hunger by 2015 and reversing the trend in rising hunger last week in response to the staggering statistics released in the USDA report. The Administration has taken decisive steps to alleviate hunger by providing a significant increase in nutrition assistance benefits for the 36.5 million people (half of whom are children) through the USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and investing $85 million in new strategies to prevent children from experiencing hunger in the summer months.
“In the coming days and weeks, the White House will continue to shine a spotlight on this critical issue, and the Feed A Neighbor initiative is the next crucial step in this administration’s comprehensive strategy to address hunger,” Joshua DuBois said. “Hunger cuts across all ages and all communities in our country. As President Obama has said, it is a problem that will take the work of all Americans, and together we can and will solve it.”
The White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships will hold a series of outreach meetings with faith and neighborhood organizations to engage them in United We Serve: Feed A Neighbor and help promote the new initiative among their network of supporters. Many of these groups are on the front lines of the hunger crisis and provide assistance to thousands daily.
The Corporation supports and funds numerous anti-hunger projects throughout the year, and leverages volunteers to assist with vital community services like meal preparation and delivery and nutrition education.To learn more about these and other programs visit NationalService.gov, and click here to listen to today’s conference call.
The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages 5.5 million Americans in service through its Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America programs, and leads President Obama’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve.
4:31 PM on Tuesday, November 24th, 2009No Comments
Most dream of a big Thanksgiving feast, but some of us have fallen on hard times and are looking for a little help. As Barry Peterson reports, more and more charities are making sure no one goes hungry this holiday season.
Because the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma is experiencing greater demands for food than ever before Chesapeake is offering its support on a grand scale by offering a $50,000 challenge match to the community at-large!
Donations received between now and the end of the year will have twice the impact on the fight against hunger. Normally, the Regional Food Bank provides $14 worth of food for every dollar donated. Thanks to this $50,000 matching gift from Chesapeake, one dollar will now provide $28 worth of food for those in need, with the potential of providing 700,000 meals to hungry Oklahomans this winter!
Giving back and helping build stronger communities are among Chesapeake’s founding principles and vital to every area we serve. By providing this match to donations made to the Food Bank the company hopes the community will respond and offer support to those most in need this holiday season – the 500,000 Oklahomans going hungry each week.
We hope that everyone who has the capacity to give will take advantage of this opportunity to donate and to double the impact of their gift this holiday season!
In addition to this match, Chesapeake will be hosting a canned food drive on the OKC corporate campus this Wednesday – Friday, November 18 – 20 and will be accepting non-perishable food items. For more information on how to donate, contact Katie Collins at (405) 935-1416.
- Teresa Rose, Director of Community Relations at Chesapeake Energy
Chase is planning to donate $5 million dollars to local charities, and your votes will decide what charities will receive those funds. Simply click the banner below and vote for “Regional Food Bank Foundation,” and then get your friends and family to do the same by posting about it on Facebook and Twitter!
VOTE VOTE VOTE!!
Yesterday, a new report from the USDA revealed that 49 million Americans are struggling with hunger everyday. Here’s a video editorial from The Oklahoman’s Ed Kelley on the matter.
5:28 PM on Monday, November 16th, 2009No Comments
“As American families prepare to gather for Thanksgiving, we received an unsettling report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that found that hunger rose significantly last year. This trend was already painfully clear in many communities across our nation, where food stamp applications are surging and food pantry shelves are emptying.
It is particularly troubling that there were more than 500,000 families in which a child experienced hunger multiple times over the course of the year. Our children’s ability to grow, learn, and meet their full potential – and therefore our future competitiveness as a nation – depends on regular access to healthy meals.
My Administration is committed to reversing the trend of rising hunger. The first task is to restore job growth, which will help relieve the economic pressures that make it difficult for parents to put a square meal on the table each day. But we are also taking targeted steps to prevent Americans from experiencing hunger. Earlier this year, we extended help to those hit hardest by this economic downturn by boosting SNAP benefits. And Secretary Vilsack is working hard to make sure eligible families are able to access those benefits as well as the School Lunch and Breakfast Program. In addition, a bill I signed into law last month invests $85 million in new strategies to prevent children from experiencing hunger in the summer.
Hunger is a problem that we can solve together, and I look forward to working with Congress to pass a strong child nutrition bill that will help children get the healthy meals they need to grow and succeed – and help keep America competitive in the decades to come.”
The full USDA Household Food Security report can be viewed here: www.ers.usda.gov/features/householdfoodsecurity/
5:25 PM on Monday, November 16th, 2009No Comments
From Feeding America:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (USDA) reported today that 49 million Americans, including nearly 17 million children, are food insecure. The 2009 report on Household Food Insecurity in the United States paints an alarming picture of the pervasiveness of hunger in our nation.
This is an increase of 36 percent over the numbers released one year by the USDA, which found that 36.2 million American were at risk of hunger.“It is tragic that so many people in this nation of plenty don’t have access to adequate amounts of nutritious food,” said Vicki Escarra, president and CEO of Feeding America. “Although these new numbers are staggering, it should be noted that these numbers reflect the state of the nation one year ago, in 2008. Since then, the economy has significantly weakened, and there are likely many more people struggling with hunger than this report states.
The new data reinforces recent findings from a research study conducted by Feeding America, the nation’s leading hunger-relief organization, reflecting a dramatic increase in requests for emergency food assistance from food banks across the country.
Conducted in September, the Feeding America study shows that its network food banks experienced an average increase in need of nearly 30 percent this year. While the numbers vary geographically, some food banks are reporting increases of more than 50 percent in requests for emergency food assistance over a year prior.
“National socio-economic indicators, including the escalating unemployment rate and the number of working-poor, lead us to believe that the number of people facing hunger will continue to rise significantly over the coming year,” added Escarra. “Research on previous economic recessions indicates that people who fall into the grips of poverty in a time of recession do not recover financially. Many of those people are likely to be in need of our services now or in the future.
“Feeding America’s 200 food banks continue to work on the front lines feeding more than 25 million people each year, through our country’s food pantries, soup kitchens, and emergency feeding centers – more than 63,000 agencies in total,” said Escarra. “These establishments, many of which are grass root and faith based centers operated solely by volunteers, serve as an oasis for the more than 4 million people who seek relief weekly to help feed themselves and their families. Emergency food assistance is a critical link in the nation’s response chain to help people through times of crisis.”
Escarra observes, “Our network food banks are calling us every day, telling us that demand for emergency food is higher than it has ever been in our history. Feeding America will continue to work closely with our partners at USDA to ensure that the public and charitable sectors are keeping pace – as best we can – with the dramatically increasing needs for food assistance.”