Why a Food Drive in Tulsa?By Dimity Short
15 Jun 2011
Despite Oklahoma’s prime location in the midst of America’s heartland - one of the most advanced agricultural regions in the world - facts show that the state is home to many struggling to put food on the table. Recent reports by the US Census Bureau estimate that the number of Oklahoma residents living below the government’s defined poverty level is around 580,000.
Oklahoma ranks in the top 5 in the nation of states with the highest percentage of people who are food insecure, meaning they are frequently faced with hunger. And the numbers continue to rise. In 2008 the percentage of Oklahoma residents with poverty-level incomes increased from 15.9 percent to 16.2 percent in 2009. In Tulsa however, the percentage is even higher. The 2009 percentage estimate of Tulsans with poverty-level incomes was 19.5 percent, or around 1 in 5.
Mindy Tiner, executive director for Neighbors Along the Line (a non-profit social service agency serving Tulsa area) provided an alarming insight into Tulsa’s recent faces of hunger. Tiner revealed that both the number of individuals whose monthly income was less than $500 and the number of families seeking food pantry assistance at the agency increased 40 percent from 2008 to 2009. She stated that “many families seeking assistance were newly poor,” and that those seeking assistance were "people we don't typically see."
Recently released statistics regarding poverty and children in Tulsa are particularly concerning. Over 23% of Tulsan children live in poverty, equating to more than 1 in 5 who are at risk of going to bed hungry every night. Also, 44% of household members served by emergency pantry programs in Tulsa are children under the age of 18.
The Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma, our Tulsa donation distributor, is the largest private hunger-relief organization in Eastern Oklahoma. They serve 450 Partner Programs in 24 counties of Eastern Oklahoma, including emergency food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, after-school programs and senior citizen centers. Together with their partners the Food Bank feeds around 60,000 people per week. Part of the mission statement of CFBEO is to engage the local community in ending hunger. The support of local individuals and organisations is imperative in this fight to have a prosperous community, one full of met needs.
If you, or anyone you know will be joining Hillsong UNITED at the BOK Center on Friday night, please bring with you some non-perishable food. And if we're not being too pushy, please HELP US spread the word about it. The more people that know... the more people will bring food... the more people that will be helped in Oklahoma!