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OKC Schools, Food Bank To Stock Pantry For Students

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At Douglass Mid-High School in N.E. OKC, the food pantry serves up to 125 students on any given week. At Douglass Mid-High School in N.E. OKC, the food pantry serves up to 125 students on any given week.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

Oklahoma City Public Schools and the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma have made a push recently to provide food for middle and high school-aged students.

In Oklahoma City, every elementary school is served by the backpack program, which provides food for students to take home over the weekends and school breaks. The goal now is to create a food pantry in the city's middle and high schools.

At Douglass Mid-High School in N.E. OKC, the food pantry serves up to 125 students on any given week. With the five-day Thanksgiving break, many students rushed to the food pantry to get everything from food and drinks to soap and toothpaste.

"This is their daily food source," explained Mrs. Johnson, who coordinates the food pantry. "I just see these kids every day and you know, you realize how hungry they are."

With the help of the Regional Food Bank, Mrs. Johnson's food pantry stocks up on enough food so that students can take home enough for themselves and their families. Mrs. Johnson sees it happen all the time.

"She comes in every day and she usually goes over there and she chooses what she wants to go home and cook and she's cooking for her cousins for supper that night," she recalled about one of her 7th grade students.

The program all started when coaches saw just how badly hunger was affecting their students outside of school.

"We had a high school contact us and they were telling us that when their students were playing football," said Angie Gaines, with the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. "When they were getting tackled on the field, instead of getting up and playing, they were going to the emergency room because they were malnourished."

The need varies. Some students pick up food regularly. Others, when things get tight at home.

"Normally at the ends of the month," one of the students said. "We're stable throughout the month but then get to the, not every month, but some months we'll get to that time."

During the holidays, for every dollar donated to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, Chesapeake Energy Corporation and Carità Famiglia L.L.C will match it, up to one million dollars.

For more information you can go to: www.regionalfoodbank.org

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