$775,000 match opportunity to raise necessary funding for the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma
The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma is pleased to announce that several anonymous donors have agreed to match donations, dollar for dollar, up to $775,000. Donations to the match can be made at rfbo.org/give or by calling 405-600-3136.
“Funding from both the private sector and government support is crucial to ensuring the Regional Food Bank meets the food assistance needs of our fellow Oklahomans,” said Deb Bunting, interim CEO of the Regional Food Bank. “We’ve had wonderful and generous donations but we’ll need more.”
In response for food assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma’s primary food distribution will be emergency food boxes at this time. As retail food donations have declined significantly due to high consumer demand, the Regional Food Bank must now purchase the products for the emergency food boxes. The projected all-in costs to meet the current need is $2.7 million per month which supports emergency food boxes for 60,000 households. If the need increases, as is expected, additional costs will be incurred.
Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Regional Food Bank distributed 4.2 million pounds of food a month. Of that, 2.4 million was donated from retailers and manufacturers, 1.4 million was USDA commodities and $420,000 was purchased food. With the high consumer demand in recent weeks, food donations have greatly reduced with no immediate recovery in sight. As a result, the Regional Food Bank is now forced to purchase the 2.4 million pounds of food that was previously donated.
“We are the first responders for Oklahomans in need of food assistance,” Bunting said. “We know that we live in a state full of kind, generous people who we hope will answer our call for additional donations and participate in this match opportunity.”
Food Pantry Directory
For anyone in need of food assistance, the Regional Food Bank encourages them to visit rfbo.org/get-help. The web page offers a pantry finder option where the visitor enters their zip code and it will list nearby pantries. Visitors are encouraged to first call the pantry to confirm hours of operation and any possible restrictions. Persons in need of food assistance can also call the Regional Food Bank at 405-972-1111 during workday hours.
Regional Food Bank to Shut Down Volunteer Opportunities to Public, Continue Distributing Food to Partner Agencies Across Central and Western Oklahoma
In an abundance of caution and in compliance with orders from state and local officials, the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma will close its volunteer opportunities to the public, effective Wednesday, March 25, until further notice.
“We appreciate the leadership of both Gov. Stitt and Mayor Holt on taking measures to keep at-risk populations as safe as possible while still allowing us to serve the one in six Oklahomans facing hunger as well as those impacted by the shutdowns,” said Bunting. “We thank everyone who has volunteered since the COVID-19 pandemic reached our state and want to assure all that the safety of volunteers, staff and the fellow Oklahomans we serve is a top priority.”
In place of volunteers, the Regional Food Bank staff will work shifts to continue to prepare emergency food boxes to be distributed to community-based partner agencies in central and western Oklahoma. The staff will continue to operate under the new volunteer model that adheres to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s social distancing guidelines. The Regional Food Bank continues to operate in Disaster Response mode as it works to provide food assistance to Oklahomans who are food insecure and the increasing number of Oklahomans impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is the very mission of the Regional Food Bank to provide food assistance where needed in our service area and that’s what we’ll continue to do,” Bunting said. “Challenging times such as these require us to be innovative and make the most of our resources and that’s what we are doing.”
The Regional Food Bank’s partner agencies report a nearly 25% increase in the number of people they are serving this week. The Food & Resource Center in Moore served 130 households on Monday and more than 30 families were visiting for the first time.
“We can’t thank our partner agencies enough for serving on the frontlines to fight hunger each and every day and now helping to meet the additional need as a result of the COVID-19 impact,” Bunting said. “Our work would truly not be possible without these valued partners.”
Anyone in need of food assistance should visit rfbo.org/get-help" target="_blank" to find a pantry closest to their home. It is recommended to first call the pantry to confirm hours of operations and if any restrictions are in place. They can also call the Regional Food Bank at 405-972-1111 during workdays.