MONDAY, MARCH 23
The Oklahoma City University Symphony Orchestra is one of 11 Oklahoma ensembles joining forces to help fight hunger in the state by supporting at national food drive, Orchestras Feeding America, sponsored by The League of American Orchestras.
OCU Symphony Orchestra members are leading a campus-wide effort to collect donations, centered on their strings and organ concert to be held Thursday, March 26, on campus in the Bishop W. Angie Smith Chapel.
Organist Louise Bass will be featured guest artist for the 8 p.m. event. The public is invited to bring donations to the concert, which is free of charge, or to the Atrium of the Wanda L. Bass School of Music all day Friday, March 27, and Saturday, March 28.
Throughout March, more than 240 orchestras across the United States will launch food drives in their local communities. Local partners include the Oklahoma City Philharmonic and the Oklahoma Youth Orchestra. Staff members, musicians, and volunteers will collect donations at the times and locations listed below for each Participating Orchestra.
Orchestras Feeding America was inspired by the upcoming release of the movie "The Soloist" -- the story of a classical musician who became homeless and destitute but ultimately helped by the compassion of an L.A. Times journalist and the musicians of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
With the help of the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, the orchestras have set a goal of collecting food and/or funds to provide 25,000 meals. "A donation of $1 provides 7 meals," said Rodney W. Bivens, executive director of the Regional Food Bank. "We are also able to provide, on average, one meal for every 1.28 pounds of donated food. This means that the orchestras have a goal of collecting 32,000 cans of food or some balance of food and funds."
"We are, for the first time in our history, distributing more food than we are taking in," Bivens said. "Now more than ever, Oklahomans need to come together to fight hunger in our own backyard. We are thankful that groups like the Philharmonic and all the participating orchestras are helping to fight hunger in Oklahoma. "
The most commonly needed items are peanut butter, rice, beans, and canned meat, vegetables, fruit and tuna. According to the Regional Food Bank, the demand for food has increased an average of 35 percent due to the economy.
The Regional Food Bank is the state's largest hunger-relief charity, distributing food to more than 63,00 people each week. Last fiscal year, the Regional Food Bank distributed 25 million pounds of food to more than 700 schools and charitable feeding programs in 53 counties in central and western Oklahoma.