Regional Food Bank and Blackwell Associated Charities seeking aide for Holiday Season

November 02, 2023

The Community Health Foundation of Kay County has provided a $30,000 grant to help fund the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma's Food for Kids Programs at several Kay County schools.

The Regional Food Bank operates the Backpack and School Pantry programs at 14 schools in Kay County.

"We are so grateful to the Community Health Foundation of Kay County for partnering with the Regional Food Bank to provide funding for these crucial programs," said Stacy Dykstra, chief executive officer of the Regional Food Bank. "Thanks to your support, thousands of nutritious meals will be provided to Kay County students this school year."

The Regional Food Bank's Backpack Program provides kid-friendly, nutritious food to students living with food insecurity to help them fill the gap between school meals and weekends and holidays. Last school year, the Backpack Program provided the equivalence of 18,575 meals to 247 students at the following schools:

Blackwell Elementary School, Garfield Elementary School, Liberty Elementary School, Ponca Tribal Head Start, Tonkawa Elementary School, Trout Elementary School, Washington Pre-K Center, Woodlands Elementary School

The School Pantry Program operates as an on-site pantry for chronically hungry middle and high school students to shop for food to sustain them after school and over the weekends. Last school year, pantries in six Kay County schools served provided the equivalence of 18,795 meals to 264 students.

Locally, Blackwell’s own food bank is still seeking donations going into the holiday seasons.

The Associated Charities Food Bank on 212 east Bridge partners with the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma to serve the Blackwell, Braman, and Nardin areas for food and personal items to help families that may need assistance.

With the holiday season fast approaching, the bank is asking for the community to help them so that they may help others.

“Requests for assistance have almost doubled and, unfortunately, donations are down,” explained Julia Stuever, Associated Charities President.

“In addition to money, Associated Charities is in need of seasonal meat and other canned food goods. We don’t accept clothing, but personal hygiene items are welcome and, with colder weather coming, blankets are a must, too,” Stuever said.

In the last three months alone, Associated Charities Food Bank served 1,200 people with just under 400 of those being children and 150 being seniors.

However, despite the demand, the Food Bank only received 20 donations from groups and individuals since July 2023.

Those interested in donation or volunteering can contact Associated Charities at 580-363-1290.

Associated Charities hours are Wednesdays from 9-11 a.m. and then from 1-4:30 p.m.

For those that may need assistance from the Associated Charities Food Bank, clients will fill out paperwork including income information.

The client will then receive enough food for 4-6 meals. Food can be picked up once a month. Clients may also receive personal hygiene items per request.

Associated Charities also provides special food bags for those that are homeless. These bags consist of read-to-eat items that are easy to open.

The organization also offers free clothing vouchers to the Good Buy Shop for those in need and, when the funding allows, Associated Charities can also assist clients with utilities or other bills. Occasionally, the group will provide gas cards to clients for transportation to medical appointments.

The Blackwell Associated Charities also works with the Solemates Program to provide shoes for Blackwell Elementary School students when needed. Solemates is the brainchild of The Presbyterian Women group, overseen by Associated Charities Vice President Debbie North.

Blackwell Associated Charities helps clients to access other agencies as well including the Domestic Violence Program of North Central Oklahoma, The Survivors Resource Network, Cherokee Strip Transit, Blackwell Animal Shelter, The Good Buy Shop, New Emergency Resources, Deer Creek Food Pantry, and the Department of Human Services