Governor Stitt announces approved relief funding for food banks
LAWTON, Okla. – Food banks across the state have been approved for six-million dollars in CARES ACT funding.
Funds will be split between the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma and the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma to help replenish their food supply.
Combined they support all food banks in the 77 counties across the state as each dollar from the funding helps provide four meals.
“We’ve both witnessed about a 30 to 35-percent increase in need for food assistance. Many of those people needing food assistance now have never needed it in the past. We have collectively between March and November 30th of 2020 compared to 2019 numbers combined the food banks have distributed 7.3 million more pounds of food than in 2019,” Marketing/Communications Director Cathy Nestlen said.
Nestlen said that should underline what the food banks were seeing as far as a need for food assistance.
“I was actually at a food distribution that we did in Wilson this past weekend, and that pantry there pre-pandemic would serve anywhere from 80 to 100 families a month. They’re serving nearly 200 families a month now.”
Nestlen said this funding was a huge relief as there was a time during the pandemic when they were purchasing food to ensure that everyone was getting what they needed.
“Just to get a sense that the people at the top level of our state government understood that the need is there for food assistance, and they understand the impact of this pandemic has had on this state that was already hungry. Prior to the pandemic we’re the fifth hungriest state in the nation,” Nestlen said.
The Regional Food Bank wants everyone to know that assistance is available if needed.