Making hunger history
Help “Strike Out Hunger” by donating nonperishable food items to local families in need.
As Sarah Roe pushes her overflowing grocery cart out of the store, she smiles. Her savings at the grocery store will not grace her table but instead will help other neighbors in need. It’s a story Roe knows all too well because she has lived it.
Three years ago, Roe was in a financial crisis and struggling to feed her family. Today, known as the Money Saving Queen, Roe is an author, award-winning blogger, television and radio celebrity and sought-after speaker.
“I believe it is our obligation to help families who are having a rough time,” Roe says. “I teach shoppers how to cut their grocery bills up to 80 percent with the power of coupons so they can give back to their schools, churches and communities.”
Mary Sims and thousands of other Oklahomans appreciate this kindness. The retired 75-year-old grandmother supports her daughter, two grandchildren and herself with her monthly $814 Social Security check. Some months, though, the money runs out — and so does the food.
“I won’t call until I need help,” Sims says with conviction. “Not until I need it.”
She found help at the Kendall-Whittier Inc. Emergency Food Pantry (KWIEFP). KWIEFP serves the 4-square-mile Kendall-Whittier neighborhood, where the average income of families who receive help is between $400-$1,000 a month.
“All it takes is one car accident, a lost job, a medical crisis — and suddenly you can’t afford to eat,” KWIEFP Director Shelley Allen says.
In June, the emergency food pantry fed 62 families, equaling nearly 200 people.
“I didn’t have a loaf of bread in the house,” Sims says.
Soon she received enough to feed a family of four for a week. The items come, in part, from the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma, which serves 460 partner programs, including food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, low-income after-school programs and senior citizen centers in 24 counties in eastern Oklahoma.
Oklahoma ranks sixth in the nation in food insecurity, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Food insecurity means that at times during the year, a household has difficulty providing enough food for all its members. Simply put, that means one out of every five Oklahoma children is at risk of going to bed hungry.
918moms.com, KOTV The News on 6 and MoneySavingQueen.com are joining forces with the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma and the Tulsa Drillers to “Strike Out Hunger” Aug. 7 and 20. Last year, Strike Out Hunger collected 2,700 pounds of food.
“We are extremely proud to support this very worthwhile cause,” Tulsa Drillers President Chuck Lamson says.
This year, organizers say they hope that Drillers fans will donate more than 3,700 pounds of food so the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma can feed nearly 3,000 hungry Oklahomans. Fans who donate nonperishable food items will receive a coupon for $2 off per ticket per can donated (limit four). The coupons are good for that night’s game and any Sunday-Wednesday game for the following two weeks.
If she could, Sims would personally thank each person who donates to Strike Out Hunger.
“I would shake their hand and say, ‘Thank you for helping the little children who won’t be hungry tonight,’” she says.
Unloading her car, Roe thoughtfully refers to her shopping trip as “shopping for a cause.”
“I believe we can all make a difference,” she says. “A can of food or bags of groceries — it’s helping our neighbors, and that’s what we do in Oklahoma.”