Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma

The students at Chickasha Middle School have been looking out for their fellow students, especially the food insecure among them. 

This year, the Chickasha Middle School collected 303 pounds of food for their School Pantry, Cathy Nestlen, Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma Public Relations, said. 

Nestlen said the student pantry is different from the backpack program, where students are given backpacks of food to help feed them through the weekend. As students enter middle school, they become more aware of the backpacks, she said. 

At the student pantry, students who are in need of food may select what they need. Nestlen said there are more than 160 student pantries at middle and high schools across the state. Nonperishable, nutritious foods are collected such as canned meats, soups, veggies, pasta, pasta sauce and snacks. Some stock their student pantries with hygiene items as well. 

The student pantries have the additional benefit of raising awareness in young people about the issue of hunger.

"It teaches them an important lesson," Nestlen said. 

The effort was part of the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma's 13th Annual Students Against Hunger Food and Fund Drive. In total the effort raised 144,000 pounds and $38,100 which will provide 311,000 meals for Oklahomans in 53 counties, according to Nestlen. 

The Students Against Hunger Food and Fund Drive is presented by the Oklahoma County Bar Association - Young Lawyers Division, APMEX.com, Devon Energy Corporation and Chesapeake Energy Corporation.

Nestlen urges Oklahomans to remember that "hunger never takes a holiday." 

Thanks to a generous matching challenge from APMEX.com, the Cresap Family Foundation and Chesapeake Energy Corporation every gift received through Jan. 15 will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $600,000 for a total impact of $1.2 million. To make a tax-deductible donation, call 405-600-3136 or visit regionalfoodbank.org. Once the match is met, every $1 donated will provide five meals for Oklahomans living with hunger.

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