Demand is out stripping supply at the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma

Friday, July 11th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Food Banks across the country are reporting too many withdrawals and not enough deposits. As News on 6 reporter Steve Berg tells us the bad economy means empty shelves and empty stomachs.

It seems strange in a nation known for overeating, but at the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma, they say there are more people than ever who lack food. Karen Senger, "right now, we're seeing a 20% in demand for food from our member feeding program. Basically they're telling us that more clients are coming to see them, more folks affected by the layoffs, more folks that are seeing cuts in their federal aid and state aid.”

While the demand has gone up 20%, donations have gone down 13%. And it's been that way for months. In spite of the gap, they haven't yet cut back on their services. "We're able to do that because we had some reserves going into this poor economy, but we're slowly depleting those."

At first glance, it may seem like there's a lot of food at the food bank, but they say back when times were good, none of these shelves would have been empty, and these boxes you see here would have been stacked to the ceiling.

The freezer is in even worse shape, with a severe shortage of so-called premium items like meats and dairy products. They figure they can keep going like this for another four to six months. But if the economy or the donations don't turn around, they might not be able to feed the need.

The food bank says about 13% of Oklahoma families can't afford nutritional foods. Of those households, about 4% have occasions where they actually go hungry.