Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma: Food Donations Down, Monetary Donations Up During Pandemic


Wednesday, April 15th 2020, 4:03 pm


News On 6 is a proud partner of the Food for Kids program to help make sure Oklahoma children don't go hungry.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the need is greater than ever before.

The Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma said monetary donations are up right now.

The non-profit said it is seeing corporations and foundations step up, and individuals making smaller, $5 and $10 donations as the food bank prepares for a busy next few months.

Inside the warehouse at the food bank, the shelves set aside for the Food for Kids backpack program look emptier than usual. It's not because of a shortage of food.

Community Initiative Manager Shiraya Proffitt said with the food bank having to cut back on the number of volunteers in the building, there are not as many people available to pack up the snacks.

The backpack program provides a sack of snacks students take home over the weekend, while they are away from meal programs at their schools.

"It makes food really accessible for them. Kind of an easy-to-grab, easy-to-eat kinda thing,” Proffitt said.

Before the pandemic, the Food for Kids backpack program provided about 15,000 meals a week to Tulsa County kids.

"We've seen that number drop because a lot of our sites have not been able to maintain the capacity to distribute those to students,” Proffitt said. “But, the sites that are staying in action, we've seen those numbers almost double as they try to serve even more families who are now reaching out and asking to access these resources."

In general, food donations are down at the food bank, but volunteers are still busy. On Wednesday afternoon, there were five volunteers sorting through donations at the food bank. There are normally anywhere between 30 to 60 on each shift.

The food bank said it normally provides 464,000 meals across 24 Oklahoma counties each week. During the pandemic, Communications Manager Greg Raskin estimated they are providing about 700,000 meals a week.

"It's not quite double, but we are getting there,” he said.

As the food bank prepares for the impact on kids and families over the next few months, it said the best way to help, if you're able, is not to donate food or time, but money.

"If we can purchase food, then we know that all the food is gonna be in great shape and we can get it distributed much more quickly,” Raskin said.

If you’d like to donate to the food bank, click here.

 

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