“You can be a part of the movement to make sure that no student goes hungry. Hunger Free Oklahoma’s Executive Director Chris Bernard explains their good work, and how you can help the cause.”
Hunger Free Oklahoma in the News.Read news coverage highlighting Hunger Free Oklahoma team members and work.
Tulsa World: 'The next meal is handled': Tulsa Kitchens Unite to keep local families fed, restaurant workers paid during COVID-19 crisis
“In just one week of operation, Tulsa Kitchens Unite provided nearly 9,600 free meals to recipients, and it aims to serve about 30,000 a week in the coming weeks.”
“Hunger Free Oklahoma (HFO) is pairing Tulsa Public Schools sites with locally owned-restaurants to help give free meals to families affected by the coronavirus pandemic.”
“Group leaders say Oklahoma is one of the hungriest states in the country, and they are hoping to get the attention of some lawmakers to make a permanent change.”
Tulsa World: Chris Bernard: Don’t let fear and misunderstanding surrounding the new Public Charge rule allow families to go hungry
“This rule took effect on Monday. The best thing we can all do now is make sure everyone is equipped with accurate information so no one is going hungry or sick out of fear.”
“As an organization, we spend the entire year collaborating with agencies and elected officials at the local, state and federal level to find the best nutritional outcomes for our state,”
The Oklahoman: No room for pride anymore when you are hungry': Food insecurity in Oklahoma on the rise, assistance programs looking to expand
“Nonprofit organizations believe efficiencies, education and policy changes can reverse the increasing rate.”
“There’s a lot of us working on continuing these increases year over year,” he said. “It’s important because it makes sure the nearly 400,000 kids who rely on free and reduced lunch have access to enough food during the summer.”
“Hunger costs Oklahoma $1.4 billion a year in things like medical costs, loss of workforce productivity and loss of educational opportunities. We know if we met national benchmarks, Oklahoma would bring back an additional $400 million annually to address hunger.”
“A report released last week by the Food Research and Action Center shows Oklahoma had the nation’s third-highest increase in summer meal participation from 2017 to 2018 with a 14.9 percent increase, but still ranks last overall.”
“More than 650,000 Oklahomans, a third of them children, lack reliable access to sufficient food, according to a Hunger Free Oklahoma study.”
“No one else looked at this issue in this way in Oklahoma,” says Chris Bernard, Hunger Free Oklahoma executive director. “As a state, we’re not doing a good job of connecting federal money to people. Part of our job is to simplify the process for people.” That means connecting organizations that serve individuals, especially families and children, to resources such as the federal Afterschool Meals and Summer Food Service Program and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for eligible kids. “Kids who are hungry are not able to learn and grow,” Bernard says.
“The proposed SNAP rule would not have an immediate impact in Oklahoma. It tightens guidelines for waivers states may request so SNAP recipients get benefits longer than allowed when jobs are hard to come by.”
Tulsa Public Radio: Compromise Farm Bill Sent to President Preserves Food Stamp Benefits for Estimated 97,000 Oklahomans
“A compromise Farm Bill sent to the president late Wednesday will not affect the one in seven Oklahomans receiving food stamps.”
Tulsa World: 121 percent more at-risk kids get after-school suppers, but Oklahoma still feeds fewer than average
“Richard Comeau, program director of Hunger Free Oklahoma, believes the state saw such a dramatic increase between 2016 and 2017 due to an initiative to raise awareness of after-school suppers.”
Find out about HFO’s Pilot Project. Story by OETA, featuring Chris Bernard, HFO Executive Director, as well as OSDE and Tahlequah Public Schools.
Chris Bernard, HFO Executive Director, speaks on an Oklahoma Watch Out panel on the impact of hunger in Oklahoma.
Hunger in the News.Read news coverage about hunger issues, opportunities, and improvements affecting Oklahomans.
“Some of the fresh food from Crest Foods will be handed out to hundreds of families this weekend, and it all started with a Facebook giveaway.“
“The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program has implemented an online application for new and existing clients in order to minimize exposure to COVID-19.”
NY Times: ‘Never Thought I Would Need It’: Americans Put Pride Aside to Seek Aid
With coronavirus-related job losses, many workers are reluctantly seeking charity and unemployment benefits for the first time in their lives.
The Oklahoman: Coronavirus in Oklahoma: USDA allows all Oklahoma school districts to give free meals
A new federal waiver will open free school meals to students statewide during the COVID-19 pandemic, not only in high-need areas of Oklahoma. The USDA approved the waiver to give free breakfast and lunch to students in school districts that don’t serve as many underprivileged children.
The Oklahoman: OKC school meal plan a 'perfect picture' of community
Rather than distributing the sacks weekly, the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma delivered eight weekends worth of food in one afternoon for the school district’s neediest children.
Tulsa World: Area schools begin free meal pickup, materials for home-bound learning because of COVID-19
Thousands of kids went back to school across Tulsa on Monday, but the doors were locked and classes were not in session.
Supermarket News: USDA’s SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot expands to second state
Extending a pilot with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Walmart and Amazon have launched an online grocery service for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) beneficiaries in Washington.
Pauls Valley Democrat: Child nutrition looks for sponsors
The 2020 Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is looking for new and returning sponsors. SFSP, a U.S. Department of Agriculture program administered by the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE), provides nutritious meals at no charge to children during the summer, when school is not in session.
Fox 61: New SNAP regulation leads to food insecurity on college campuses
Access to SNAP benefits, also known as food stamps, is getting more strict this year. It’s left one demographic even more at risk.
USA Today: A terrible time to be poor': Cuts to SNAP benefits will hit 700,000 hungry Americans
There are lots of potential changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) on the table, but earlier this month the Trump administration announced the first major change will be implemented early next year, limiting benefits available to able-bodied adults ages 18 to 49 – like Holteen – who do not have dependents. The change will not affect children and their parents, people over 50, people with disabilities or pregnant women.
The Oklahoman: Mize: Oklahoma City symposium explores food insecurity in 73111
The Oklahoma City Council is holding another public hearings on its way to likely passage of a new zoning ordinance creating a Healthy Neighborhoods Overlay District for 73111, which is bounded roughly from NE 16 north to East Wilshire Boulevard between N Kelley Avenue and N Bryant Avenue. It would require “dispersal of locations of Small-Box Discount Stores unless they have a pharmacy or provide at least 500 square feet of retail space dedicated to the sale of fresh meats, fruits and vegetables.”
News on 6: Quapaw Nation Helps Fight Hunger In Green Country
The Quapaw Nation is helping fight hunger in Green Country. The tribe is teaming up with Downstream Casino Resort to distribute 25 tons of canned food to 14 food banks and food pantries in northeast Oklahoma.
Tulsa World: Michael DuPont: Where Oklahoma can start to reduce its unacceptable level of poverty
So, what is the state of poverty in our community? The federal poverty level for a family of three is $20,780, roughly half of Tulsa’s self-sufficiency benchmark of $46,889. Knowing this, first consider the stress that families in poverty live with as they face this chasm between their income and self-sufficiency. Next, consider that living this way is not uncommon as one in six people in Tulsa County live below the poverty line, including one in four children. That’s 37,000 children.