More help is coming to local food banks who are working overtime right now to help those who need it most.
Last week, Governor Kevin Stitt approved $6 million in CARES Act money for food banks.
The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma will be receiving half of that approved funding, at $3.5 million. The need just hasn’t let up.
“Twenty-five or 30% of the people we are seeing are new and some of them are returning,” said Stacy Dykstra, CEO of the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. “They are no longer new, but it is people new to food insecurity.”
Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma leaders began planning for the worst if help didn’t come soon.
“It is to replenish food at the food bank because so much more is going out that we are doing,” said Dykstra. “We really hope to help support our network. We have over 300 food pantries in our 53-county area so we really want to make sure we are doing everything we can to support them.”
Dykstra said she’s happy to see an increase in SNAP benefits, until June, with the latest COVID relief bill. The CARES Act did not include such increase.
“When you’re going to the grocery store, it’s costing you more money right?” said Dykstra.
“We’re at an all-time high in terms of grocery prices right now, so we needed that extra to help people stretch their dollars and make ends meet.”
The pandemic and its ripple effects are far from over. Resources for now at the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, are far from scarce.
“We’re in disaster mode right now and we’re all looking forward to an economy where everyone is back at work and things are happening but, in the meantime, we’ve got to take care of each other,” said Dykstra.
Anyone in need can call 405-972-1111 or visit the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma’s website for additional resources.