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Data: 33 percent of hungry Oklahomans are ineligible for assistance benefits

OKLAHOMA CITY – Employees at the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma spend their days trying to make sure Oklahoma families are fed.

The ‘Map the Meal Gap 2018,’ the latest report by Feeding America, detailed food insecurity and the cost of food throughout the country.

The report states that food insecurity exists in each of the 53 counties in the Regional Food Bank’s service area. Overall, the study suggests that about 635,740 individuals are considered food insecure in Oklahoma. Food insecurity is a measure defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a lack of access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members.

Also, it states that 33 percent of Oklahomans who are food insecure don’t qualify for federal nutrition assistance and must rely on charitable food programs.

“The Feeding America nationwide network of food banks works hard to deliver more than 4 billion meals annually to people facing hunger, yet SNAP serves 12 meals for every one meal provided through our network,” said Matt Knott, president of Feeding America. “As Congress debates the 2018 Farm Bill, programs such as SNAP must be protected and strengthened so that people facing hunger and trying to make ends meet have the essential food resources they need.”

Last year, the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma provided more than 43.4 million meals to hungry Oklahomans.

“Across central and western Oklahoma, the Regional Food Bank works with more than 1,300 community-based schools and charitable feeding programs to help the one in six Oklahomans with inconsistent access to healthy food,” said Katie Fitzgerald, chief executive officer of the Regional Food Bank. “That’s why support from the community is so important. Every dollar donated provides four meals for chronically hungry children, seniors on fixed incomes and hardworking families.”