Living with hunger is a reality for thousands of Oklahomans. The Regional Food Bank distributes food to feed more than 90,000 people statewide each week. Now, a new program is helping to make those food choices healthier.
Being retired, Doris Thompson looks for help wherever she can. So once a month she comes out to the Fresh Mobile Pantry to pick up free fruits and vegetables.
"We get what we need, fruit and vegetables and it just makes it a lot easier for us," she said.
The mobile pantry is part of the Regional Food Bank's Fresh RX initiative, aimed at putting healthier foods on the table of those in need.
"It feels good that we're able to help them," said Doug Eckert, the supplemental foods program manager for the food bank. "Unfortunately those same people are at a higher risk for chronic diseases like heart disease hypertension high blood pressure, obesity and so a healthier diet is going to be able to help them avoid those diseases."
The mobile pantry serves much like a farmer's market, where volunteers pass out fresh produce once a month at eight different locations in the metro.
"We need help getting the food passed out to everybody and it's vital that we have that help in order to be able to serve the people that we want to serve," said Eckert.
Each month, the pantry feeds around 740 people, who, like Doris, who want to lead a healthier lifestyle.
"I want to be healthy, I want to be healthy for my grandchildren who are always over and it's something there for them to eat when they come over, something healthy for them," said Thompson.
The mobile pantry is funded through donations and grants. To find the closest mobile site to you, call the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma at 405-972-0968 or to volunteer, go to www.regionalfoodbank.org.