Tulsa Drillers Pitch In To Help Oklahoma's Hungry

Wednesday, May 30th 2012, 5:06 pm
By: Craig Day

The Tulsa Drillers are stepping up to the dinner plate to help hungry people across eastern Oklahoma.

It's a unique partnership with the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma, taking food from the ballpark to dinner tables in two dozen counties.

When people go out to the ball game, it's for more than just baseball.

There's all that great ballpark food.

When the game is over, the Drillers aren't letting the leftovers go to waste.

"It's still good, high quality food," picnic manager Cliff Aldridge said. "It's the food that the fans are paying good money for. It's still good, it can be donated to the community food bank of Eastern Oklahoma."

That's what the Drillers are doing. Anything cooked, but not sold, is quick frozen... and donated to the food bank to be used in good tasting and nutritious meals.

"I love it," director of culinary services Jonathan Haring said. "It's really a boon for us."

For example, leftover hamburger patties are being used in spaghetti sauce.

"They can turn food into dozens and dozens of dishes," Aldridge said.

Aldridge is also a volunteer for the food bank.

He's very proud of how the Drillers are helping those who are hungry.

"I was raised by people who grew up during the Depression," Aldridge said. "They didn't waste anything at all."

The food bank's culinary kitchen volunteers and staff turn all kinds of ballpark food into packaged dishes sent out to 450 agencies in 24 counties.

Haring says they try not to waste anything.

"We get the good food that is left over from the suites as well, so sometimes we'll get prime rib, sometimes we'll get barbecued chicken," Haring said. "We'll pick the meat off the bones, we'll use it in something else and we'll boil the bones to make chicken stock."

Aldridge says the Drillers are a good example of taking food that might ordinarily be sent to a landfill and filling the stomachs of people facing food insecurity.

"There's no guarantees on any given night that they're going to have enough to eat," Aldridge said.

About two dozen area restaurant also donate food to the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma.