More than 500 students donated their time to help pack more than 42,000 pounds of food during the Oklahoma FFA Day of Service at the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. The Day of Service follows the announcement that FFA students donated enough animals to Oklahoma Food Banks’ Pork for Packs Program that will provide more than 1.5 million protein sticks to children living with hunger.

The Oklahoma FFA Day of Service had more than 500 students from chapters across the state come to the Regional Food Bank's Volunteer Center. This year, chapter members donated their time before and after the annual FFA State Convention and they helped to pack enough food to provide more than 35,400 meals for Oklahomans in need of food assistance. 

"We are so very grateful to the Oklahoma FFA students who each year join the Regional Food Bank to fight hunger,” said Katie Fitzgerald, chief executive officer of the Regional Food Bank. "We love this partnership with the FFA and are so appreciative of not only the animals they donate for the Pork for Packs Program but also for the time they give to volunteer."

In Oklahoma, one in four children lives with hunger. The Regional Food Bank's Backpack Program served nearly 20,000 students in 499 elementary schools last year. The program provides students with kid-friendly, nutritious food and one of the most popular items in those sacks is the protein stick.

Protein is crucial to physical development in children. The Pork for Packs Program allows FFA students to donate their show animals to be processed into protein sticks for the Backpack Programs for the Oklahoma Food Banks - Regional Food Bank and the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma. This school year, FFA students donated a record-setting 957 animals to the program, which will provide the equivalent of 1.5 million protein sticks.

"FFA members spend countless hours of hard work into getting their livestock ready for show season. Every year we are blown away by the generosity we see when so many animals are donated to help feed chronically hungry Oklahoma children." Fitzgerald said.

The animal donations come following the Oklahoma and Tulsa State Fairs and the Oklahoma Youth Expo. The Pork for Packs Program is possible through a partnership between the Regional Food Bank, the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, Oklahoma FFA chapters, the Oklahoma Beef Council and Oklahoma State University.

You can join the fight to end hunger today. For every $1 donated, the Regional Food Bank can help provide four meals to those living with hunger in central and western Oklahoma. Join the fight against hunger by visiting rfbo.org/donate or calling 405-600-3136.