Join Battle of the Bands with Tulsa’s Food Bank Junior Ambassadors

Teenagers and rock n’ roll – inseparable for well over 60 years. With its annual “Battle of the Bands,” The Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma has found a way to transform the energy of that classic duo into meals for the hungry. On Friday, April 14, young bands from all over Tulsa will duke it out at the historic Cain’s Ballroom in this musical fundraiser hosted and organized by the Food Bank’s Junior Ambassadors.

“The Junior Ambassadors program has been going on for four years, and we’ve done the Battle of the Bands every year,” said Adam Baker, the Food Bank’s volunteer coordinator.

High school students entering 9th-12th grade are eligible to be Junior Ambassadors. The group meets monthly during the school year to plan the event.

“The goal of the program is to foster a connection between the Food Bank and high school students,” Baker explained. “We try to get students who are especially aware of food insecurity and hunger in our community and help them involve their peers. The program was put in place to make a deeper connection between the youth of Tulsa and to continue that outreach, not only through our efforts, but through the efforts of the students themselves with their peers.”

According to the Food Bank, Oklahoma consistently ranks as one of the hungriest states in the nation, with one in four Oklahoma children at risk of going to bed hungry. Over 17 percent of the state’s population is considered “food insecure.” That translates into 242,990 kids who aren’t sure where they’ll get their next meal. Clearly, this is music with a purpose.

“Our goal for this event is 40,000 meals. We look at it in that sense,” Baker said. “With the way that the Food Bank purchases and what we’re able to do within the Feeding America Network, we can take one dollar and turn that into four meals.”

Not only is this a fun way for high school students to support a worthwhile cause, it’s also an opportunity for them to learn some new skills. According to Baker, the kids are the real force behind the event, picking the bands, organizing all aspects of the fundraiser, and working the day of the show.

“I hate to say ‘real world,’ but it’s skills that they’ll apply that are less theoretical,” Baker commented. “They’ll learn how to solicit sponsorship. They learn to organize and focus their efforts for the specific bands that get recruited, to be on time, to schedule and to strategize how to make a show run. The night of the show, especially this year, is going to be run almost exclusively by the students.”

This year’s group of Junior Ambassadors includes three returning seniors from three different area high schools.

“These seniors have been in since their freshman year. They’ve been in since the program’s existence,” Baker said. “I think that’s really awesome – to find students who can jump in as freshman and you’ll see them grow and let the program grow with them.”

For more information on the Food Bank, the Junior Ambassador Program and the Battle of the Bands, visit

JulieJulie Wenger Watson is a freelance writer who’s worked in all aspects of music promotion. She’s also Co-Director of “Live From Cain’s,” a public radio show pilot.