OG&E, Ending Hunger OKC’s Meals on Wheels partner to support restaurants, families and seniors
With the restaurant industry reeling from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, OG&E announced its parent company OGE Energy Corp. will donate $250,000 to support local restaurants in partnership with Ending Hunger OKC’s Meals on Wheels program.
The company announced it will collaborate with Ending Hunger OKC in a unique partnership that will support local restaurants to provide nutritious meals to homebound seniors, as well as families in the metro impacted by job loss during this crisis. The partnership will provide much-needed relief to restaurant owners and their employees while serving the needs of seniors and families.
“At OGE, we believe that we are only as strong as the communities we serve. During this unprecedented and trying time, we want to look for innovative ways to ensure the well-being of those around us,” said Sean Trauschke, OGE Energy Corp. chairman, president and CEO. “We hope this donation will energize local restaurants and their hardworking employees by helping sustain their livelihoods during this difficult time.”
Dr. Bob Long, Senior Pastor at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, who oversees Ending Hunger OKC and its Meals on Wheels program, said OG&E’s donation will help many senior Oklahomans at a time when demand continues to grow.
“Our Ending Hunger program is seeing the needs of our community rise exponentially right now,” Long said. “Meals on Wheels is now delivering 600 additional weekly meals because of the increased demand for services due to COVID-19. We are also answering the call for multiple partner nonprofit agencies with out-of-work families. This generous donation will give us an immense opportunity to serve over 4,500 hot meals weekly to people who are struggling to make ends meet in this trying time. We hope OG&E’s gift inspires other organizations to support this effort.”
Ending Hunger OKC is collaborating with Stella, Pie Junkie, Hacienda Taco, Hall’s Pizza Kitchen, Riviere Modern Banh Mi, Café 7, Leo’s Barbecue, 1492, George’s Happy Hog and several other local restaurants to infuse the money directly into the restaurants to allow them to continue to keep their staff employed. In return, these restaurants are either preparing family style meals that will be distributed throughout the greater metro area, or creating signature dishes to be delivered directly to homebound seniors through Meals on Wheels.
“You have no idea how much this helps right now,” said Robbie Vernon owner of Hacienda Tacos. “Midtown restaurants are a big lunch business and with offices closed we are really struggling. This has honestly brought tears to my eyes, I feel pretty blessed today.”
“While every industry is struggling with the economic impact of COVID-19, Oklahoma’s hospitality and restaurant industries have been especially hit hard,” said Jim Hopper, President and CEO of Oklahoma Restaurant Association. “The support of local restaurants and the food service industry is critical and we greatly appreciate OGE’s generous gift to support business owners, their workers, and their families.”
Ending Hunger OKC is a food outreach ministry of OKC-St. Luke’s that serves seniors through Meals on Wheels Oklahoma City and youth through commUNITY Table. Through its partnership with the Areawide Aging Agency, Meals on Wheels Oklahoma City works with churches and community organizations in Oklahoma County to deliver hot meals to homebound senior adults. commUNITY Table provides nutritious meals and education to youth. In the future, Ending Hunger OKC will add programs like AniMeals on Wheels to help feed the pets of homebound seniors and ElderEats, a subscription meal and socialization service to ease the concern of loved ones worried about an aged parent.