February 14, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sharon Catalano / 918-583-5588 ext 225 / [email protected]
Susan Tilkin / 918.936.4524 / [email protected]
Roben Kantor Smolar / 404.745.9482 ext 5 / [email protected]
TULSA NONPROFITS AND BUSINESSES JOIN FORCES TO FEED HOMELESS COMMUNITY MEMBERS ON VALENTINE’S DAY
“I have been here a few days and the outpouring of love has been amazing.”
Tulsa, OK – February 12, 2013 – An estimated 500 homeless Tulsans will receive a nutritious meal while enjoying the spirit of community at the Tulsa Day Center for the Homeless on Valentine’s Day. The ninth annual Valentine’s Day lunch 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, a member of the Schusterman Philanthropic Network. The lunch aims to make Valentine’s Day special for members of the Tulsa community who are experiencing hard times.
Hunger and homelessness are global issues with local impact. Approximately 750,000 Americans experience homelessness on any given night, with 56 percent living in emergency shelters or housing programs and 44 percent unsheltered in the streets and abandoned buildings.
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. In addition to sponsoring and serving the lunch, the Schusterman Foundation will donate beds to the Day Center’s program for community members who have recently transferred into private housing.
“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 an issue like homelessness. Events like these remind people they are loved, no matter where they are in life.”
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 247,000 meals each week. In 2012, the Food Bank distributed nearly 15.5 million pounds of food throughout eastern Oklahoma, the equivalent of more than 12.8 million meals.
“This is really a special way to spend a day which we mark as a celebration of love and coming together and serving,” said Eileen Bradshaw, Executive Director of the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma. “We all look forward to this each year.”
The Valentine’s Day Lunch also involves the generosity of local businesses. Bama Pie will donate apple pies for dessert, and community members will receive gift bags filled with bottled water, fruit from Frontier Produce and the DoubleTree Hotel’s signature cookies. Mary Murray’s Flowers will contribute premium Valentine’s Day roses.
During last year’s Valentine’s Day event, a Day Center client said: “I have been here a few days and the outpouring of love that has come through this facility has been amazing.” WATCH THE VIDEO
For 25 years, the Schusterman Foundation has been devoted to empowering people to better their lives and give back to their communities. Service and volunteerism have been a hallmark of its work within its hometown of Tulsa and internationally across the Jewish world and in Israel. As part of the Schusterman Philanthropic Network, the Foundation is especially focused on providing young people with the knowledge, experiences and resources they need to be agents of change and encourages all of the organizations it supports to infuse service and volunteer opportunities into their programming.
“There is no better moment than the present to embrace the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whose life and legacy we celebrated last month,” said Lynn Schusterman, Co-Chair of the Schusterman Philanthropic Network. “‘Everybody can be great because anybody can serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.’”
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. www.tulsadaycenter.org
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. www.cfbeo.org
About the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation
The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation is committed to strengthening the Jewish people, public education in the United States and the quality of life in its hometown of Tulsa, OK. The Foundation pursues its mission by providing young people with high-quality education, identity development, leadership training and service opportunities that foster their growth as individuals and as leaders in their communities, the Jewish world and beyond. www.schusterman.org
The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation is a member of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Philanthropic Network, a global enterprise that supports and creates innovative initiatives for the purpose of igniting the passion and unleashing the power in young people to create change in their communities.