Homeland, a locally owned grocery store chain with 31 locations in Oklahoma, has donated $30,000 to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma’s Food for Kids program as part of the chain’s commitment to “ensuring Oklahoma’s children have enough to eat this school year.” Thanks to the Food for Kids match, this donation will be matched dollar for dollar, and will support 300 children in the Food for Kids program for an entire school year.
“As an employee-owned, Oklahoma-based company we are passionate about making sure all of Oklahoma’s children have food to eat,” said Marc Jones, president and CEO of Homeland. “Our customers and our employee-owners are proud of our partnership with the Regional Food Bank and the essential support it and its partner agencies provide across our state. This donation is just one way we are trying to live up to our mission of being a company of Oklahomans feeding Oklahomans.”
One in four children in Oklahoma faces hunger. The Regional Food Bank’s Food for Kids program fights childhood hunger by providing food to chronically hungry children in 53 central and western Oklahoma counties. Last school year, the Regional Food Bank provided millions of meals to chronically hungry children through Food for Kids’ Backpack Program, School Pantry Program, Kids Cafe and Summer Feeding program.
Through the Backpack Program, children receive a backpack full of kid-friendly, non-perishable and nutritious food on Friday to sustain them over weekends and school holidays. During the 2016-17 school year, more than 21,000 students in 500 schools participated in the Backpack Program. An additional 3,000 chronically hungry elementary school children joined the program last year alone.
The School Pantry program provides chronically hungry middle and high school students with food to sustain them after school and over weekends. The School Pantry Program ended last school year having served nearly 5,465 students at 165 schools.
Kids Cafe is an after-school program that provides food, mentoring, tutoring and a variety of other activities to an average of 3,000 children each month at 34 sites in central and western Oklahoma.
The Summer Feeding program provides meals to children 18 and under over the long summer months when free and reduced price meals are not available at school. Over the summer, more than 120 sites in central and western Oklahoma provided meals to children struggling with hunger.
“Homeland has been a generous supporter of the Regional Food Bank for nearly 30 years, and for that we are very grateful,” said Katie Fitzgerald, CEO of the Regional Food Bank. “Food is the most essential school supply, and Homeland’s donation will help ensure that 300 Oklahoma students have enough to eat this school year.”
In addition to supporting the Regional Food Bank with cash and product donations, Homeland participates in the organization’s Retail Food Recovery Program that allows partner agencies to collect and distribute perishable foods that retail grocery stores can no longer sell. The program helps the partner agencies provide deli meats, bread and bakery items, produce and other healthy perishable food items to the clients they serve. This July, Homeland donated 34,660 pounds through the program. Homeland also supports the Regional Food Bank’s annual Feeding Hope Letter Carriers’ Food and Fund Drive held each May.
Through Sept. 30, every donation to the Food for Kids program will be matched, up to $150,000, thanks to the generosity of the Masonic Fraternity of Oklahoma, Bienvenuti Ristorante, David Gorham and two anonymous donors. To make a donation, visit foodforkids.us or call 405-972-1111.
Established in 1980, the Regional Food Bank is the largest hunger-relief organization in the state. Last fiscal year, the 501(c)(3) nonprofit distributed 52 million pounds of food and products through a network of more than 1,300 schools and charitable feeding programs in 53 central and western Oklahoma counties.