Oklahoma consistently ranks as one of the hungriest states in the nation. In fact, 17 percent of our statewide population is considered food insecure, leaving 654,640 Oklahomans unsure of where they will get their next meal. The Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma is dedicated to feeding the hungry. Its vision is food security, with dignity, for all eastern Oklahomans. 

Sheryl knows what it means to not have enough to eat. She worked as a Head Start teacher for 32 years, but struggled to support herself financially after her husband died.

“I never would have needed the assistance except my situation changed when my husband died a few years ago. I lost his income and was left with just my own,” she said. “With the bills and everything, I always found myself coming up short on food.”

Sheryl says she was reluctant to receive help from the Food Bank.

“At first I was resistant because I have a lot of pride, but there is no stigma here,” she explained. “I really think it’s a great program for people who, every once in a while, fall into that place where they don’t want to be, and they just need some help. We are always treated with compassion and dignity.”

Thousands of meals are provided each week to people, like Sheryl, struggling with hunger. The Food Bank distributes donated items to hundreds of Partner Agencies operating feeding programs in 24 counties of eastern Oklahoma. These programs include emergency food pantries, soup kitchens, emergency shelters, child feeding programs, senior feeding programs, and initiatives for veterans.

In addition, the Food Bank helps raise public awareness about hunger and the role of food banking in relieving hunger. In 2018, the Food Bank distributed more than 28.1 million pounds of food. 

The Food Bank relies heavily on private contributions from individuals, businesses, churches, civic groups and grants from foundations and corporations. Only four percent of its total resources go toward administration and fundraising, allowing the organization to devote 96 percent of all funds to fighting hunger and feeding hope.

Sheryl says the Food Bank has been a blessing to her.

“With the food we get, it is just enough for me to stretch it through the month. We live better, we really do, because we have more food. It’s one of the things that has taken a lot of stress out of my life.”