Articles from November 2012

Interview with a Food Bank Employee

Angela Gaines, the director of marketing and communications for the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, kindly agreed to answer a few of my questions about her food bank. I’m sure their needs are typical, regardless of where you live. I hope this is helpful, with all the holiday food drives coming up!

1. Can your describe your typical clientele? How has it changed since the economy has gotten worse?

The majority of those served by the Regional Food Bank are children, seniors living on fixed incomes, and working families who cannot make ends meet. Forty percent of clients reported choosing between paying for food or paying their utilities or heating fuel. Their average annual income is $12,130.

Since the economy has gotten worse, more Oklahomans are turning to the Food Bank for assistance.

2. What are your biggest food-related needs?

Canned meat, canned vegetables, canned fruit, canned tuna, peanut butter, rice and beans. We also accept miscellaneous canned goods, packaged goods, personal hygiene items, cleaning supplies, and paper goods. We do not accept baby food in glass containers.

We require the items to be unopened, in non-breakable packaging, and not past their expiration date. We do not accept homemade items.

3. Is there anything people frequently donate that you can’t use?

Food that has been expired for a long time.

 4. Can you accept prepared food (such as leftovers from a large event)? What about fruit from trees and vegetables from personal gardens?

Vegetables, yes. Prepared food, no, but some of our partner agencies, like the Salvation Army, can.

5. Would you prefer to receive cash or food donations?

Cash. Every dollar donated will provide five meals for hungry Oklahomans.

6. Would you accept leftover Halloween candy a few weeks after Halloween? How about other sweets?

Non-perishable items and healthy vegetables are preferred.