Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band made quite an impact on Oklahoma’s hungry when they performed on Tuesday, April 7 at the Center. At a time when the state’s food stamp participation rate is at an all-time high and emergency food pantries are experiencing a 40 percent increase in the number of people seeking food assistance, The Boss and his band helped raise over $26,000 and 800 pounds of food, which will help the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma fight hunger, feed hope.
The Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma was notified by Springsteen’s representatives several weeks before the band’s appearance that they were Springsteen’s charity of choice. They offered the Food Bank four premium tickets to the concert that they could auction off to a Food Bank supporter, which included a behind-the-scenes meet-and-greet with Springsteen and front-row seating during the concert. Jim Bender, senior vice president and general counsel at the Williams Companies, was the lucky bidder. As a long-time fan of The Boss, Bender has seen Springsteen perform 40 times at various concerts around the country. He was very happy to meet the performer in person this time.
In addition to making a personal $10,000 contribution to the Food Bank, Springsteen set aside an additional 200 extra tickets at $20 a piece that were sold days before the concert to those who donated a non-perishable food item. All the proceeds went directly to the Food Bank. Fans were also urged to bring food donations with them to the concert. During the concert, Springsteen encouraged them to make a financial contribution as well before dedicating his performance of “Hard Times” to the Food Bank.
“We are amazed at Bruce’s generosity and support of the Food Bank,” said the Food Bank’s executive director, Sara Waggoner. “What Bruce may not know is how far that money will go to help us feed the hungry. With every dollar we receive we can distribute the equivalent of seven meals.”
One last act of kindness that Springsteen performed before leaving town was to autograph one of his CDs and a set of lyric sheets. These items will be auctioned off at the Food Bank’s upcoming hunger awareness dinner and fundraiser, Empty Bowls, scheduled for Tuesday, April 28 at 5:30 p.m. at the Renaissance Tulsa Hotel. Springsteen fans can bid on the items for the price of a $35 ticket. Information on where to purchase tickets is available online at www.cfbeo.org.