A recently announced matching grant by the George Kaiser Family Foundation is under way for cash donations to the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma. That’s in addition to a nonperishable food drive and a toy drive happening at fire stations city wide.
The City Council is spearheading the partnership that’s making it happen. KWGS’s Catherine Roberts spoke with Councilor Karen Gilbert about the details of the drive, and how to get involved.
Catherine Roberts: Councilor Gilbert, these two drives, non-perishables for the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma and toys for the Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots—these two happen every year, what’s different this year?
Karen Gilbert: This year the difference is that we’re combining the two. We’re putting the two together, and this year we’re using all fire stations rather than just a few. So we have 30 fire stations within the City of Tulsa, and so this allows the residents easy access to dropping off their donations.
CR: Why combine it, and why do it this way?
KG: Well, last year the City did the canned food drive, and it was a big success, but the fire department has always done Toys for Tots. And so, this year, just working together, showing the collaboration between the City and the Fire Department, we’re just putting the two together. Trying to make the holidays better for all citizens.
CR: I understand there are some priorities that the Food Bank has; are there things that the Marine Corps is specifically looking for as well?
KG: Not necessarily, they’re just asking for new, unwrapped toys.
CR: And then what are the priorities for the Food Bank in terms of things they want to see?
KG: Pretty much anything and everything. So, canned food, macaroni and cheese, spaghetti O’s, anything like that, pasta. They’re in the need for anything and everything.
CR: Tell me about how successful these drives are usually.
KG: I know last year the drive was pretty successful. We pretty much raised over 7,000 pounds of food. But this year, also, along with people making donations of canned food and toys, the George Kaiser Foundation has also stepped in to help out, and they are offering $100,000 matching grant, for new and increased donors who wish to donate to the Food Bank.
CR: And that happened last year as well, right?
KG: Yes, ma’am, it did. The drive, the canned food drive and the toy drive, they will end December 20. But the matching grant will go on until January 31. So even after the holidays, if people make a donation of $20 to the Food Bank, the George Kaiser Foundation will match that so it will equal $40.
CR: What would successful look like for you guys this year in terms of these drives?
KG: Donations. Everybody loves to go to the fire department, and this is a great excuse to do that. So, you know, any donation of toys and canned food is a win-win. This is just a drive, you know, Tulsans helping out Tulsans.
CR: When during the day can you bring this stuff by? Is there a time frame?
KG: No, not at all, fire stations are open 24-7; so that’s the best part of it. You can stop by any time.