More than $485,000 was raised for the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma’s Food for Kids programs to fight childhood hunger in central and western Oklahoma. From August 1 through September 30, every childhood-hunger relief gift made was matched, up to $150,000, and donors throughout Oklahoma responded by exceeding the matched goal.
“The generous matching gifts from The Masonic Fraternity of Oklahoma, Top of the World, David Gorham and two anonymous families will make a significant impact in our ability to feed children struggling with hunger this fall,” said Laura Lang, vice president of development at the Regional Food Bank. “We are grateful for their support, and for the amazing response from the community, to help the one in four children who struggles with hunger every day.”
In total, this match will support 2,424 students in Food for Kids for an entire school year. Last school year, the Regional Food Bank provided the equivalent of nearly 3 million meals to chronically hungry children through Food for Kids childhood hunger programs, which includes the Backpack Program and School Pantries.
Through the Backpack Program, children receive a backpack full of kid-friendly, non-perishable and nutritious food on Friday to sustain them over weekends and school holidays. Last school year, more than 18,800 students in 517 schools participated in the Backpack Program. In Carter County alone, 660 students in 14 schools participated in this program. Schools included: Charles Evans Elementary School, Chickasaw Head start Ardmore, Dickson Elementary School, Fox Elementary School, Healdton Elementary School, Jefferson Elementary School, Lincoln Elementary School, Lone Grove Intermediate School, Lone Grove Primary School, Plainview Intermediate School, Plainview Primary School, Springer Elementary School, Will Rogers Elementary School and Wilson Elementary School.
The School Pantry Program provides chronically hungry middle and high school students with food to sustain them after school and over the weekends. The School Pantry Program ended last school year serving more than 5,100 students in 152 middle and high schools. In Carter County alone, 164 students in five schools participated in this program. Schools included: Ardmore Middle School, Ardmore High School, Healdton High School, Lone Grove Middle School and Lone Grove High School.
“We’ve supported the Food for Kids program for several years, but this was our first time to be a part of the Food for Kids match,” said Ridge Smith, Grand Master of the Masonic Fraternity of Oklahoma. “With members throughout the state, it just made sense for us to come together and support such a great cause and make a difference in the lives of children who are struggling with hunger.”
Together, we can solve hunger. Donations are still needed to ensure that children in Oklahoma have enough to eat. To make a tax-deductible donation to Food for Kids, or for more information about the program, visit regionalfoodbank.org or call 405-600-3136.