February 4, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tulsa, OK (Feb. 4) – An estimated 400 homeless Tulsans will receive a nutritious meal while enjoying the spirit of community at the Tulsa Day Center for the Homeless, at 415 W. Archer St., on Thursday, Feb. 11. The 12th annual Valentine’s Day celebration is a partnership between the Day Center for the Homeless, the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation.
The lunch aims to make Valentine’s Day special for members of the Tulsa community who are experiencing hard times. In Tulsa, an average of 400 people seek services each day at the Day Center for the Homeless, which is the only daytime shelter in Tulsa providing a safe, healthy environment for people in need and offering them opportunities for achieving self-sufficiency.
“Community partnerships are an integral component to providing that extra level of support for those in need,” said Sandra Lewis, Executive Director for the Day Center for the Homeless. “Holidays can sometimes be the toughest days for people to get through when they are faced with homelessness. Events like these remind people they are loved, no matter where they are in life.” WATCH THE VIDEO.
The Valentine’s Day lunch also showcases the generosity of local businesses. Toni’s Flowers & Gifts will contribute long stem roses, Fresh Point Produce is supplying fresh oranges and bananas for the guests' goodie bags and Doubletree Warren Place will be bringing their signature cookies. Lunch will include meatloaf, mashed potatoes with gravy, sautéed green beans, corn, dinner rolls with butter, and iced tea and bottled water. Chef Jeff Marlow of the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma will take the lead in preparing the meal, and will be assisted by students from the Lobeck Taylor Culinary Trade Program.
A highlight of this year’s party will be a performance by members of A Pocket Full of Hope, a local nonprofit dedicated to helping at-risk youth build character through music, theatre and dance. The organization places an emphasis on service-learning, helping young people to give back to the community while also building the skills to make positive choices and grow as responsible, engaged citizens.
The Community Food Bank is the largest private hunger-relief organization in Eastern Oklahoma, working with 450 partner programs to distribute enough food to prepare more than 335,000 meals each week. Each year the Food Bank distributes nearly 21 million pounds of food throughout eastern Oklahoma, the equivalent of more than 17.3 million meals.
“Valentine's Day is a day on which we celebrate love,” said Eileen Bradshaw, Executive Director of the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma. “This celebration at the Day Center is a way to share love and food with the guests there, and it has become a very special privilege for us to be included.”
In addition to sponsoring the lunch, the Schusterman Foundation will donate housewarming kits to the Day Center’s program for community members who have recently transferred into private housing.
“A community is only as strong as our willingness to love and support our fellow citizens,” said Lynn Schusterman. “We are fortunate in Tulsa to have organizations like the Day Center and the Community Food Bank that are so deeply committed to caring for and serving those who are experiencing hard times, not just on Valentine’s Day but every day of the year.”
About the Tulsa Day Center for the Homeless
The mission of the Tulsa Day Center for the Homeless, Inc., is to provide a safe, healthy environment for people who are homeless and offer them opportunities and encouragement for achieving self-sufficiency.
About the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma
Founded in 1981, the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma is the largest private hunger-relief organization in eastern Oklahoma. The Food Bank distributes grocery items to 450 Partner Programs in eastern Oklahoma including food pantries, soup kitchens, emergency shelters, after-school programs and senior citizen centers. In turn, these programs collectively provide more than 247,000 meals each week throughout our 24-county service area. In addition, the Food Bank helps raise public awareness about hunger and the role of food banking in alleviating hunger. Last year, the Food Bank distributed nearly 15.5 million pounds of food, the equivalent of nearly 13 million meals to help feed eastern Oklahoma’s hungry.
About the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation
The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation is a global organization that seeks to ignite the passion and unleash the power in young people to create positive change for themselves and in their communities. Schusterman pursues its mission by working collaboratively with others to support and operate high-quality education, Jewish identity development, leadership training and service programs designed to help young people cultivate their growth as individuals and as leaders.