Volunteers Make Backpack For Kids Program Possible

Thursday, November 3rd 2011, 5:06 pm
By: News On 6

Terry Hood, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- In recent months, News On 6 has highlighted the Backpacks for Kids program, run by the Eastern Oklahoma Food Bank.

The backpacks supply extra food for children who may otherwise go hungry over the weekend. What we haven't talked about are the people who make the program possible: volunteers.

This scene is repeated countless times at the Food Bank's headquarters near downtown Tulsa. Groups of volunteers from the all walks of life, come every week to make magic.

"Volunteers are just precious to us. When they work for us in the food for kids program, they do everything," said Sara Waggoner, Food Bank Executive Director.

Volunteers turn a program with just one full time staff member, into an operation that serves 6,500 children in eastern Oklahoma.

Volunteers put together almost 113,000 food bags last year. This year, the number should be even higher.

Helping this day is a group from the Tulsa Rotary Club.

"They have everything laid out and give you a little direction and turn it into a production line. And they make it fun along the way," said Linda Adlof, Tulsa Rotary Club Volunteer.

Linda also volunteers at Celia Clinton Elementary School, and says she can already picture the children who will be taking this food home. For a small effort, she sees a tremendous pay-off.

"To help a child be provided nourishment over the weekend-and know they won't be hungry-who wouldn't want to do that? And we're donating a lunch hour," Linda said.

Last year the food bank used 10,000 volunteers. Their time was the equivalent of three-quarters of a million dollars. And their work helped feed hungry children.

"We count on every single volunteer that comes in and helps. And every single person who wants to come and help will have a spot," said Sara Waggoner.

If you want to claim one of those spots, there are many opportunities - family groups, church groups, business and civic groups, along with individual volunteers.

Food For Kids