A month-long food drive to help hungry Oklahomans will be a central theme of this year's historical inauguration of the state's first female executive, Gov.-elect Mary Fallin said Tuesday.
Flanked by several corporate sponsors of the drive, Fallin announced the food drive and other details of her inaugural schedule at the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma's warehouse in south Oklahoma City.
The food drive will begin Wednesday and involve coordinators in each of the state's 77 counties to collect non-perishable food items to stock local food pantries. Fallin said it's unacceptable that Oklahomans go hungry each day and that fighting hunger will help showcase one of the state's greatest strengths â€” the generosity of its people.
â€œWe want to start out by highlighting the caring spirit of our state,â€ Fallin said. â€œNow more than ever we need that spirit of generosity.â€
Food pantries across the state are seeing a spike in demand as fallout from the national recession, said Rodney Bivens, executive director of the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. The organization distributed 50.5 million pounds of food last year and expects an increase of about 15 to 20 percent this year.
â€œEvery time those numbers go up, it means more seniors, more children and more families are going hungry in the state,â€ Bivens said.