PSO, food banks to ‘Shine A Light’ on neighbors in need
(Story by Ed Bettinger)
TULSA — Although Oklahoma’s economy has improved and the job count is growing, many Oklahomans struggle each day to feed their families. Oklahoma ranks among the top five states in the nation in the number of people who are hungry. More than 675,000 Oklahomans wake each day wondering where their next meal will come from. More than 40 percent of Oklahomans who rely on food pantries for basic groceries report they regularly have to choose between paying their utility bills and feeding their families.
Although there is no single solution to fix this problem, Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) Consumer Programs has developed the “Shine A Light” project to help brighten the lives of those in need. It can also save you some money and energy.
The focus of the Shine A Light Project is to help Oklahoma families who are served by food pantries avoid having to choose between paying their utility bills and putting food on the table.
“We want to help, so we developed our Shine A Light Project in partnership with the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma and the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma to help families who need to stretch their household budget,” said Dawn Casey, PSO Energy Efficiency & Consumer Programs coordinator.
How Shine A Light Works
For each PSO-discounted CFL or LED light purchased at a participating Shine A Light retailer through June, PSO will donate the same item to its food bank partners – up to 75,000 bulbs – to help the families save energy. Those savings can then be applied to other purposes, including the food bill.
The high-efficiency lights will be distributed to food pantry customers. The Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma will distribute the lights to 122 food pantries within PSO’s service territory, who will then distribute to their customers and agencies like John 3:16 Family Ministry, Neighbor for Neighbor, First Baptist Church and Hospice of Green Country.
The Regional Food Bank will distribute to 37 food pantries within PSO’s service territory, who will then distribute to their customers, like the Lawton Food Bank, First Baptist Church of Chickasha, Duncan Rescue Mission, etc.
To support this effort and receive a discount on the purchase of long-lasting, energy-efficient lights, employees can visit one of PSO’s participating retailers, such as Lowe’s, Walmart, Home Depot or Dollar Tree, and look for lights with the PSO “Savings that Shine” sticker. The discount will be rung up at the cash register when you check out.
The PSO discounts range from $1 to $7 per bulb, depending on the type purchased.
For a limited time, select LEDs are priced at around $6 at Home Depot.
Go to PowerForwardWithPSO.com to find a participating retailer near you.
ENERGY STAR®-certified CFLs use 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs, saving you $40 to $135 in energy bills. They also last 10 to 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
The ENERGY STAR®-certified CFLS also provide the same brightness (lumens) with less energy (watts).
About the Community Food Banks
The Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma is the largest private hunger-relief organization in the eastern part of the state, providing more than 275,000 meals each week through 450 partner programs in 24 counties. In 2013, the organization distributed more than 17.1 million pounds of food.
The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma is the largest private hunger-relief organization in the state. In 2013, it distributed 47.9 million pounds of food and product through its network of more than 1,000 partner agencies and schools throughout 53 central and western Oklahoma counties. Through the Regional Food Bank more than 90,000 people are fed each week – one-third of whom are children.