Three years ago, on a school assignment, I took a tour of the food bank in Tulsa, Oklahoma. That tour, and the disturbing statistics, made a lasting impression on me.
Much has been reported on the hunger issue and the widespread famine in countries around the world. While many celebrities are using their status to bring awareness to the issue, I was inspired to help those going hungry in my own community. Many families here in Oklahoma have to choose every day between paying for food or paying the rent or utility bills. Parents are skipping meals in order to provide extra food for their children and stretch their food supplies.
Luckily, our community has a cutting edge facility dedicated to helping the food insecure in our area. Through volunteering, I have seen firsthand the benefits of their programs. One of my favorites is the backpack program for kids. This provides a weekly backpack full of food to children at risk of going hungry over the weekend when federal free or reduced meals are unavailable.
The state of the art culinary center at the food bank supports their value-added processing program which helps extend the shelf life of perishable food by processing it into a form that can be frozen. I was amazed to see a truckload of tomatoes become freezers full of spaghetti sauce, chili and lasagna.
Even backyard gardeners are asked to help by planting an extra row in their gardens and donating the produce to the hungry. The food bank receives thousands of pounds of fresh food each year through this program.
I have learned a lot about hunger issues through my community food bank and also about running an efficient organization. By making sound financial decisions they are able to devote almost 98% of their resources to their mission. They have shown me how a degree in business can be utilized to help run an organization working to solve real problems affecting those around me.
When I first began volunteering at the food...