Oklahoma ranchers are really beefing up to help end hunger in Oklahoma.
Tuesday, five community organizations along with area ranchers gathered at the Oklahoma State Capitol to announce the Beef for Backpacks program.
The program is part of the Food for Kids program that started in 2003. Area ranchers will donate cattle to produce beef sticks. Those beef sticks will then be given to children who are part of the program.
"American agriculture has been feeding the world for years and this is the natural extension of that," said David Von Tungeln with Von Tungeln Farms. "I think it's a worthwhile program."
The Regional Food Bank estimates it will need between 20,000 and 25,000 beef sticks every month to supply all of the children on the Backpack Program.
"We currently provide thousands of chronically hungry children with a backpack of kid-friendly, nutritious food every weekend and school holiday throughout the year," said Rodney Bivens, executive director of the Regional Food Bank. "These beef sticks add to the nutritional content, and we are confident the kids will love them."
During the 2011-2012 school year, the Backpack Program fed more than 13,500 children across 475 elementary schools.