OKLA. CITY —
To the Editor:
Thank you, Oklahoma, for responding so generously to the Feeding Hope and Letter Carriers’ Food Drive in May. Little did we know, at the time, that the food would be needed to not only feed those struggling with hunger in central and western Oklahoma, but also those recovering from the recent storms.
Our hearts and prayers continue to go out to all who were affected by the deadly and devastating tornadoes and flooding that impacted our state in May. Thanks to the generosity of donors both inside and outside of Oklahoma, the Regional Food Bank was able to respond quickly to disaster relief efforts and will continue to do so for as long as we are needed. Your support makes that possible.
There are, no doubt, countless stories of heroic efforts made by volunteers both before, during and after the storms passed. Less than 24 hours after the first round of tornadoes hit, more than 550 Devon Energy employees volunteered to sort nearly 320,000 pounds of food collected during the Letter Carriers’ Food Drive so that it would be immediately available to families and individuals impacted by the tornadoes.
I am always so proud of the way our community steps up to the plate and supports our efforts to feed the hungry through this annual food and fund drive — but none more so than this year. Because of your support, Oklahomans who are struggling to recover and rebuild their lives will have one less thing to worry about.
This month-long food and fund drive had the backing of corporate sponsors, led by Devon Energy Corporation, Chesapeake Energy Corporation, the Oklahoman, the U.S. Post Office and many other corporations; letter carriers in 126 cities; thousands of volunteers; and individuals who took the time to fill a plastic bag with canned food for their letter carrier to pick up on May 11. Through the food and fund drive alone, more than $1.3 million and nearly 885,000 pounds of food were raised. This year, the food drive also benefited HOPE Center of Edmond, Route 66 Project and Edmond Grace Fellowship.
We are humbled by the outpouring of support but not surprised by it. Because, after all, we live in Oklahoma where people still care about their neighbors and will give you a safe place to sleep, a cold drink of water, a hot meal or a warm embrace just to let you know they care.
Thank you for “Fighting Hunger … Feeding Hope” alongside the Regional Food Bank as we work to provide food for our neighbors who are struggling with hunger on a daily basis and our neighbors who experienced incomprehensible losses from the recent storms. If you would like to continue to support our efforts, please visit www.regionalfoodbank.org or call 604-7111. All gifts made to the Regional Food Bank stay in Oklahoma to help Oklahomans.
Rodney W. Bivens
RODNEY W. BIVENS is executive director and CEO of the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.