TULSA – The Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma (Food Bank) announced Thursday a $50,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation to fund infrastructure that will help the Food Bank’s Partner Programs secure and distribute more nutritious food to families in need.
The grant will support investments in the refrigerated equipment necessary to handle perishable products and will benefit 20 of the Food Bank’s Partner Programs in eight counties.
“One in 6 people struggle with hunger in Oklahoma, including more than 216,000 children,” said Eileen Bradshaw, executive director for the Food Bank. “We are thankful to the Walmart Foundation for helping to ensure that people who struggle with hunger have access to nutrient-rich food. This grant will go a long way in helping the Food Bank and our Partner Programs serving eastern Oklahoma.”
“Several agencies have to limit the number of families they serve because they have limited storage space,” said Fran Bevel, grants manager at the Food Bank. “These assets will allow agencies to store and distribute more fresh retail food by creating more storage and decreasing potential spoilage. Each agency has the potential to distribute 26,000 pounds of additional fresh, healthy produce.”
The Food Bank secures fresh, perishable food from retailers across the eastern 24 counties of Oklahoma through its Retail Store Donation Program. By working with grocery stores and other food retailers in the community, the Food Bank can help ensure healthy food isn’t wasted.
In Ottawa County, the program that will benefit from the Walmart Foundation grant funds is DOCServices. For over 36 years, DOCServices has been providing core services to seniors in northeast Oklahoma such as congregant meal sites and Meals on Wheels.
In 2016, some 17.9 percent of Ottawa County's population was food insecure, and the Food Bank provided over 472,000 meals to struggling families with the help of 23 Partner Programs.
The Walmart Foundation has been instrumental in helping food banks rescue and distribute more perishable food from retailers across the United States in a sustainable, cost-effective way. This grant is a part of Walmart and the Walmart Foundation’s ongoing commitment to helping families who struggle with hunger by providing four billion meals to people in need in the U.S. by 2020.
Since 2009, the Walmart Foundation has been a leading supporter of infrastructure grants to Feeding America food banks, of which the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma is a member, and their member agencies. Walmart and the Walmart Foundation provide donations of both food and funds to the Feeding America nationwide network of 200 food banks.
Locally, over $346,000 through store grants, state grants, and grants through Feeding America as well as more than 27 million pounds of food was donated from local Walmart stores in the Food Bank’s service area, in the last five years.
In Oklahoma, more than 632,000 residents are food insecure. To learn more about what the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma is doing to fight hunger, visit okfoodbank.org.