Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma
Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma serves 24 counties. With only two food banks in the state, Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma (CFBEO) covers about 40% of the state from the Oklahoma-Kansas border to the Oklahoma-Texas border including the Southern corridor.
This year CFBEO has distributed 15.5 million pounds of food. CFBEO has 450 partner programs with food serving agencies. Susan Tilkin, Director of Communications & Marketing, says that a new program they have is Senior Servings with AARP Oklahoma. There are 3 pilot programs for Senior Services in Pawhuska, Nowata, and West Tulsa. Tiklin says there are a lot of Senior citizens on a fixed income and Seniors often don't ask for assistance. One of the most well known programs of CEBEO is their Food For Kids backpack program. Students who aren't getting enough food at home take home a backpack of food on Fridays. The largest amount of food distributed by CEBEO is through emergency pantries and shelters such as Iron Gate and Tulsa Day Center for the Homeless. CFBEO has been operating over 30 years since 1981.
Tilkin says they are concerned about hunger in the Southern corridor in the McCurtin, Latimer, and Le Flore county area this holiday season. Also, 13,000 people in the areas of Vian, Sallisaw, and Gore have lost employment recently due to closing businesses. Families throughout the state who rely on breakfast and lunch at school for their children lack food in late December because of the break from school. CFBEO wants people to know that hunger is an issue 12 months a year. Tilkin says, "We appreciate people's generosity all year long, but during the holidays we're all more attentive to the fact that we get together as families more during the holiday season."
Now through November 15th is Governor Mary Fallin's Feeding Oklahoma Food & Fun Drive. To participate drop off food at the food bank, or vist their website at cfbeo.org for drop off locations for this drive including any of their partner programs accepting food. This is the third year Governor Fallin has had a food drive. Her first year, right after her inauguration, she wanted to do more than celebrate the governorship. The last two years the Feeding Oklahoma Food Drive has raised more than one million meals.
Tilkin invites people to the food bank to tour and to volunteer. She says they rely heavily on volunteers. "We simply could not do what we do without our volunteers," Tilkin explains. “The smallest things make a difference,” Tilkin says, “Coming out and volunteering whether it be as a family or as part of your organization or business, you might want to come out and spend an afternoon.” The first Tuesday of every night is family night designed for families to volunteer for a couple of hours at the food bank.