From time to time, we use the OK Policy blog to post submissions we receive from Oklahomans who have interesting perspectives on important policy issues for the state. This entry is from Sara Waggoner, Executive Director of the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma.
I have been in Food Banking for 28 years and just finished my 20th year as executive director of the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma. I have never seen the need for emergency food programs so prevalent or the increase in requests so high.
Emergency food programs were originally established to provide food for a short period of time to families who temporarily lacked enough money to meet all of their basic needs. Providing food allowed them to use their resources to pay a utility bill, put gas in the car to get to work or buy medicine. Families usually needed help two to four times per year, occasionally six times. Over the last two and a half years, not only has the number of people requesting help increased by 40 percent in the 24 counties served by the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma, but, more and more families are relying on these emergency food programs to make it through each month.
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