Operation Blessing International, one of the largest charities in America, recently celebrated the milestone of delivering 1 billion pounds in food and relief aid since the inception of its program Hunger Strike Force in 1992.
The 1 billion pounds in food consists of: 865 million pounds of food, 95 million pounds of hygiene and relief aid, and 42 million pounds of disaster response goods.
"Thirty years ago, Pat Robertson founded Operation Blessing International as a pipeline to the poor; a conduit between those willing to help and those who need help," said OBI president Bill Horan.
"What Dr. Robertson started as a local effort to assist the poor in Tidewater, Virginia has grown into a worldwide humanitarian organization offering not only hunger relief, but clean water, medical services, disaster relief and a myriad of programs for orphans and at-risk children," he said.
The Hunger Strike Force is OBI's largest domestic program. The program's warehouses are strategically located in Florida, California and Virginia, from where HSF is currently able to deliver over two million pounds of free food and supplies each week to a network of more than 120 community-based partners in dozens of cities.
Supplies are then distributed by partner organizations to about 4,400 local food pantries, where they are used to help people in need.
Recently, the number of people in need have soared because of the economic crisis. OBI reported that its Hunger Strike Force saw a 343 percent increase in partner applications from food pantries around the country that are in need of provisions.
But as demands increase, the ministry's supplies have declined. Food manufacturers have decreased the amount of food donated to charities, OBI reported.
In response to the new challenges, OBI noted that some corporate food donors has shown greater generosity during tough times, including Rich Products Corporation, which increased its donation of food by over 9 percent from 2007-2008.
"There have always been some hungry people in America, but never as many as we are seeing now. Loss of jobs has created a huge new demographic of newly-made poor Americans," Horan said. "Folks who have never had to ask for help before are turning to churches and relief agencies for help in feeding their families."
"OBI's Hunger Strike Force is struggling to keep up," he said. "We need cash donations to keep our fleet of trucks rolling in the battle against hunger."
On the Web: www.ob.org