ENID, Okla. — Tyson Foods donated 10,000 pounds of chicken to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma last Wednesday, part of a total 15,000-pound donation to benefit food pantries in 53 counties.

This was the third year in a row Walmart, Bimbo Bakeries USA and Tyson Foods teamed up in a partnership with Feeding America to make the large donation to the Regional Food Bank. The three companies donated 15,000 pounds of food – equating to 13,750 meals – including the 10,000 pounds of chicken from Tyson and 5,000 pounds of bread from Bimbo.

Last week’s donation was coordinated through a partnership with Feeding America, billed as the largest hunger-relief organization in the Unites States, with a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs that provides meals to more than 46 million people each year.

Katie Fitzgerald, Chief Executive Officer of Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, said the large donation has a tremendous impact in the region for people in need.

“We cannot begin to describe the impact this donation will have for those who struggle with hunger in central and western Oklahoma,” Fitzgerald said. “Each year, we see more and more neighbors, just like you and me, who need extra help to make ends meet. Donations like this help us on our mission to ensure no one goes hungry.”

Pete Louree, Team Leader of Retail Operations for Tyson Foods, said the company, which has a large production presence in Enid, is pleased to be able to support organizations that help those in need.

“Tyson Foods isn’t just a company with people who work in Oklahoma, our people live here and are members of the community,” Louree said. “We are blessed that we’re able to partner with Bimbo Bakeries and Walmart to give back to the communities we all serve and help those who are struggling with hunger. The Regional Food Bank will put this donation to great use providing needed nutrition and services to those impacted by food insecurity in Oklahoma.”

The Regional Food Bank is the largest hunger-relief charity in the state, according to a press release, providing more than 50 million pounds of food each year to central and western Oklahoma.

Oklahoma consistently ranks among the hungriest states in the nation, according to Regional Food Bank data.

“The majority of people served by the Regional Food Bank are chronically hungry children, hardworking families struggling to make ends meet and seniors on a limited income,” according to the press release.

Loaves & Fishes of Northwest Oklahoma relies heavily on food provided by the Regional Food Bank to meet the needs of those people in Enid.

According to a report released in February, Loaves & Fishes distributed 690,000 pounds of food last year to 5,518 people in need in 2,119 households. Almost half that food — more than 310,000 pounds — came from the Regional Food Bank.

Katie Long, assistant director of Loaves & Fishes, said large donations like the Tyson and Bimbo contribution help support local efforts to feed the food insecure.

“When they get sizable donations like that, we definitely benefit,” Long said. “Because of that food from Bimbo and Tyson, the Regional Food Bank has more products to distribute to us, that we can turn around and distribute in our community.”

For more information on Loaves and Fishes and their work to feed the food insecure in Enid, visit http://www.loavesandfishesnwok.org.

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Neal is health, military affairs and religion reporter and columnist for the Enid News & Eagle. Follow him on Twitter, @jamesnealwriter, and online at jamesrneal.com.
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