Food Bank COVID-19 Preparedness and Prevention Plan

Many families we serve live paycheck to paycheck. Others have trouble getting enough food each day.
A possible quarantine, lengthy illness, or work reduction would have devastating effects for them.

According to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), The federal government considers workers who support food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals, such as those residing in shelters as part of Essential Critical Workforce Infrastructure.

In order to get food to people struggling with food insecurity, the work of the Food Bank will continue through these uncertain days. Food continues to arrive, with more on the way. More plans will unfold and the situation continues to evolve.

Click here to contribute to the effort.

Here are some of the measures taken by the Food Bank thus far:

The primary focus of the Bank remains working with our efficient network of 350 Partner Agencies. We provide them with shelf-stable items and fresh produce so they can provide food resources to people in need within their communities through their normal distribution methods. Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, the Food Bank provided the equivalent of 464,000 meals each week. That number will steadily rise.

In addition to an increase of our typical food distribution of fresh produce and shelf-stable pantry items, emergency boxes of shelf-stable food are becoming available to many Partners Agencies for distribution. Thanks to a generous grant from the Richison Family Foundation, the Food Bank has greatly expanded the capacity to provide additional emergency relief boxes to our Partner Agencies.

Tulsa Kitchens Unite, is a new partnership recently formed with the Food Bank, Hunger-Free Oklahoma, Tulsa Public Schools, and a variety of local restaurants and kitchens. TKU has 3 key goals: keep local restaurants open, keep workers paid, and keep local families fed. Funding for the program was provided  by the George Kaiser Family Foundation, the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, The Anne & Henry Zarrow Foundation, and the Maxine & Jack Zarrow Family Foundation. Under the leadership of Jeff Marlow, Director of Culinary Services, partnership meals will be prepared through a variety of kitchens, including the Food Bank’s Culinary Center, and provided to families at no cost.

The Food Bank Culinary Center is preparing and freezing 10,000 complete meals from donated and purchased food each week. Through Chef Marlow’s strong relationships in the restaurant community, many food donations were secured to help with those meals. Many of the Culinary Center meals are distributed to under-served neighborhoods through a partnership with Food on the Move and the Dream Center.

After learning of the dire need of many older residents living in Tulsa Housing Authority (THA) senior communities, the Food Bank quickly mobilized emergency boxes of shelf-stable food with the help of TPC and ABCO to each resident. A few days later, a delivery of fresh produce to THA senior residents supplemented the shelf-stable food they recently received. Deliveries of food to THA senior housing is continuing.

The Food Bank provided 60 emergency boxes to Youth Services of Tulsa (YST).  YST has independent housing for youth who are engaged in work or furthering their education. Many had jobs in the food sector, many of which were lost due to current public gathering restrictions.

The Culinary Center also provided complete meals to the YST shelter.

The Food Bank will continue to respond quickly to emerging needs as the situation continues to evolve.

Need Food Assistance?

For members of the community in need of extra assistance, please click on the Get Help button at the top of this page for ways to to find a pantry close to home or connect with our team. Additional resources can be found by calling 211. Hunger-Free Oklahoma will maintain a state-wide food resource page. For students in the Tulsa area, information is available from Tulsa Public Schools. They will have several sites with meals available for any child 18 or under in addition to some meal delivery. Many other school districts have similar programs. Please check with your local school district.

Volunteers:

In order to continue the work of providing food assistance to those who are food insecure and the increasing number of Oklahomans impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Food Bank is taking registration for limited volunteer opportunities. Currently, volunteers can help distribute family-style frozen meals at Tulsa Public Schools Grab n’ Go meal sites for families. This is part of the Tulsa Kitchens Unite program.

For volunteer engagement, best safe practices are in place for safe physical distancing, cleanliness, and sanitary conditions. We request that volunteers who have them to please bring face masks.

Due to capacity limits and safety issues, please note:

We require all volunteers to schedule their session. Please go to our volunteer page to register. We accept volunteers over the age of 16. We recommend that volunteers 65 and over use caution.

We will continue to adapt as we learn more about COVID-19 and will continue to update our information as changes occur.

Updated 4/8/2020