By: Duane Blankenship | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: May 2012
Young volunteers from St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church of Broken Arrow combine forces to help package food for distribution to 450 participating Partner Programs that feed the hungry.
June 2, 2012 marks the date for the 5th annual Panera Hunger Run to help fight hunger in Oklahoma. The Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma encourages runners and walkers to lace up their shoes and join them for a day of fun with the entire family. The event area will feature a Kid’s Zone with inflatables including a Jupiter Jump, slide, face painting, and more. Panera Bread has been the major sponsor of the Hunger Run since its inception. Other sponsors for this year’s event are Magellan Midstream Partners, Williams Companies, SGA Design Group, and Dr. Tom and Sue Stees.
The Panera Hunger Run commences at 8 a.m. at Tulsa River Parks at 96th & Riverside. Pre-registration is $20; day of race is $25. The event includes a 1K Fun Run or the timed 5K Run/Walk. This is a great opportunity for churches, school groups, or organizations to challenge like groups. Maybe your high school football team could challenge another of your school’s teams or organizations.
Register now for the Panera Hunger Run at www.cfbeo.org. Prizes will be awarded for standard USATF groups, teams with the most participants, and teams and individuals with the most outside contributions. If you or your business would like to be a sponsor, please contact Frances Bevel at eat0@eau0eav0eaw0.
Maggie Hoey, communications specialist for the food bank, says, “For every $1 raised, the food bank can provide seven meals to those who cannot feed their families.” The Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma saw last fiscal year as the largest distribution in its more than 30-year history. They distributed more than 16.8 million pounds of food over 12 months, a 25 percent increase over the previous year.
Over 70,000 meals per week were distributed to 450 Partner Programs within the 24-county service area. Oklahoma is now tied with Arkansas as the hungriest states in the nation (USDA Household Food Security Report). An astonishing one in four children in Oklahoma struggle with hunger, and 17 percent of our state’s population is classified as food insecure, not knowing where their next meal will come from.
Last year saw a total of 10,216 volunteers recording a combined 46,042 hours helping in sorting and repackaging donated food and assisting with other administrative tasks, which saved the food bank more than $500,000 in wages and compensation. The food bank is grateful for the volunteer support and generosity of the area’s many individuals, groups, organizations, and the business community.
May 12 will be the 20th anniversary for National Stamp Out Hunger, sponsored by the National Association of Letter Carriers. You are invited to leave a bag of donated goods by your mailbox to be picked up by your letter carrier. The donated items will then be delivered to the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma for distribution. “Like all our food bank programs, said Maggie, “volunteers help make this program successful.”
Reasor’s participates in the National Stamp Out Hunger program by making it easy for shoppers to buy a $15 bag of “most-needed” food items that will be delivered to the food bank for distribution to Partners Program volunteers. All contributions to the food bank are tax deductible.
Of the households experiencing hunger, less than 20 percent are classified as unemployed. More than a third is disabled and/or retired. The remaining 46 percent have at least one working member.
Join the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma, Panera Bread, and the National Association of Letter Carriers in making the annual Panera Hunger Run and Stamp Out Hunger programs successful. Help them as we collectively feed hungry Oklahomans, a result of our combined efforts to fight hunger and feed hope.
Blankenship graduated from the University of Oklahoma and has enjoyed a lifetime career in advertising. He started his own advertising business in 1993 and enjoys creating graphic art and writing. Hobbies include hunting, fishing and pencil drawings. Duane and his wife, Janice, have been married over 50 years and are active in their church and community. He has been a contributing writer for Value News/Values Magazine since 2005.
1304 N Kenosha Ave | Tulsa, OK