White House Hunger Conference puts spotlight on Oklahoma group

“We know that with the right programs, improved systems, collaborative partnerships and strengthened policies,” Bernard said, “we can end food insecurity and increase access to affordable nutritious food for all Oklahomans.”

First new full-size supermarket in decades for OKC's east side to open Wednesday

August 31, 2021 – “Homeland and Hunger Free OK are setting up the Lincoln Boulevard store to be the first in Oklahoma City to offer the nonprofit’s Double Up Oklahoma Program, which matches SNAP (also known as food stamps) dollar for dollar with DUO Bucks redeemable for fresh fruits and vegetables (up to $20/day).”

Nonprofit Fighting Hunger In Oklahoma Applauds Biden Administration For SNAP Benefits Increase

August 17, 2021 – “Oklahoma families receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits stand to receive 25% more than they did before the pandemic starting in October thanks to action by the Biden administration.”

A community-made oasis brings hope to a Tulsa food desert

August 4, 2021 – “Hunger Free Oklahoma, a Tulsa based organization, is working with Oasis Fresh Market to try to implement their Double Up Oklahoma program, which augments the money spent on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) purchases with DUO Bucks to be used for fresh produce.”

Federal emergency SNAP benefits extended through end of 2021 in Oklahoma

May 21, 2021 – “This solution is the extension of a lifeline for Oklahoma families so they can continue to put food on the table as they continue to recover from the economic impact of the pandemic.”

Oasis Fresh Market becomes first Tulsa grocery store to offer Double Up Oklahoma

May 7, 2022 – “It was a celebration at Oasis as they became the first grocery store in Tulsa to launch the Double Up Oklahoma Program, which makes it more affordable to buy fresh fruits and foods.”

As Oklahoma food insecurities continue, so does the work to combat the problem

July 21, 2021 – Hunger Free Oklahoma is piloting a new dollar for dollar matching program which could also be a big game changer – it’s called Double Up Oklahoma.

TSET grants fight hunger, improve access to healthier foods

March 7, 2021 – Hunger Free Oklahoma received TSET funding to expand the Double Up Oklahoma (DUO) program in up to 11 grocery stores in nine counties across rural Oklahoma. 

Oklahomans Impacted By COVID-19, Applying For SNAP Help

February 26, 2021 – Hunger Free Oklahoma said they’ve helped 6,500 families submit SNAP applications since last spring. Of those, they’ve been able to help about 3,200, but that number continues to go up…

OK families approved for Families First Coronavirus Response Act

July 8, 2020 – The USDA announced Oklahoma’s approval to operate a Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer Program. Funding comes from the Families First Coronavirus Response Act…

For media inquiries, contact Melissa Marshall, Communications and PR Manager: melissa.marshall@hungerfreeok.org, 405-850-0467

Tulsa Area United Way: Featuring Hunger Free Oklahoma's program Tulsa Kitchens Unite

“57 additional mouths got fed because of [Tulsa Kitchens Unite] besides the 3,600 meals a week we cooked. This program that was supplied to [Blue Dome Market] kept this restaurant open.”
– Robert, Owner of Blue Dome Market

Listen

A Conversation with Chris Bernard, the Executive Director of Hunger Free Oklahoma, Public Radio Tulsa

Chris Bernard talks to Dr. John Schumann about the state of hunger in Oklahoma.

Hunger Free Oklahoma in the News.

Read news coverage highlighting Hunger Free Oklahoma team members and work.

USDA: USDA Invests More Than $59M to Improve Dietary Health and Nutrition Security

“This investment delivers on a commitment made in the Biden-Harris Administration’s National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health to improve access to healthy and affordable food.”

KTUL: Oasis Fresh Market becomes first Tulsa grocery store to offer Double Up Oklahoma

“It was a celebration at Oasis as they became the first grocery store in Tulsa to launch the Double Up Oklahoma Program, which makes it more affordable to buy fresh fruits and foods.”

Tulsa World: Column - Ending hunger in Oklahoma requires congressional help

“Hunger Free Oklahoma Executive Director Chris Bernard said Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits are vital not only to people in poverty, but also to the rural economies where people will spend those dollars, supporting businesses and jobs.”

Public Radio Tulsa: Leader in the fight against hunger in Oklahoma testifies at congressional hearing on food insecurity in rural America

“Hunger Free Oklahoma Executive Director Chris Bernard said Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits are vital not only to people in poverty, but also to the rural economies where people will spend those dollars, supporting businesses and jobs.”

KOSU: Perry, Okla. grocery store latest to double SNAP benefits for fruits and vegetables through pilot program

“The Homeland grocery store in Perry is the latest to get involved with Hunger Free Oklahoma’s Double Up Oklahoma program, which adds matching money to buy fruits and vegetables for shoppers who use the USDA’s SNAP program.”

2News: Federal grant helping food insecure communities in Oklahoma

“With inflation setting food prices at an all-time high, a $14.2 million grant is making it possible for Hunger Free Oklahoma to expand a program that is helping put fresh, healthy food on dinner tables across the state.”

NewsOn6: Snap Nutrition Incentives Increases Shopping Produce in Oklahoma

“We’ve noticed that total fruit and vegetable sales by Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or ‘SNAP’ consumers, have increased by more than 300% since the start of the program,” Wetherill said.  

KFOR: Millions of dollars from Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust to be spent on food for Oklahomans in need

“A $6.3 million grant will be dedicated to providing food to folks in need after the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) Board of Directors approved expanding a program that incentivizes buying fruits and vegetables.”

The Oklahoman: TSET grants fight hunger, improve access to healthier foods

“Hunger Free Oklahoma received TSET funding to expand the Double Up Oklahoma (DUO) program in up to 11 grocery stores in nine counties across rural Oklahoma. The program provides vouchers to Oklahomans using the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and will help participants buy more fruits and vegetables.”

News on 6: Oklahomans Impacted By COVID-19, Applying For SNAP Help

” Hunger Free Oklahoma said they’ve helped 6,500 families submit SNAP applications since last spring. Of those, they’ve been able to help about 3,200, but that number continues to go up.”

Watch

Find out about HFO’s Pilot Project. Story by OETA, featuring Chris Bernard, HFO Executive Director, as well as OSDE and Tahlequah Public Schools.

Watch

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.

 

KOAM: Could ‘Food Stamps’ Program Give Memory a Boost?

“Researchers found that eligible older adults who used the government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — commonly called food stamps — had two fewer years of mental decline over a 10-year period than those who could have registered for the program but did not.”

The Oklahoma Eagle: Oasis Fresh Market Set To Expand Model Statewide With New Stores

“In an interview with the Oklahoma Eagle, Johnson outlined the business’s ambitious plan to open new stores in West Tulsa, Oklahoma City, and two locales in rural Oklahoma which have not yet been designated.”

FRAC: The Pandemic Disrupted a Decade-Long Decline in Food Insecurity in 2020, but Government Policy Has Been a Critical Support

“Examining food insecurity over this longer period is illustrative of just how disruptive the pandemic has been, and on the flip side, how important a strong nutrition and social safety net is for all Americans.”

Homeland Security: DHS Publishes Fair and Humane Public Charge Rule

“This action ensures fair and humane treatment of legal immigrants and their U.S. citizen family members,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “Consistent with America’s bedrock values, we will not penalize individuals for choosing to access the health benefits and other supplemental government services available to them.”

Oklahoma Watch: As Universal Free Lunch Program Ends, Obstacles Return For Some Families

“We’re really doing a disservice by not keeping (programs like this) in place and it’s going to be harder for schools,” Chris Bernard said. “It’s going to be harder for families. And I’m not sure we can predict every result from it yet, but over the course of this school year, you’re going to see it.” 

KRMG: USDA extends flexibility that’s helping manufacturers, states get formula to WIC families

“USDA is covering the added cost of non-contract formula to make it financially feasible for states to allow WIC participants to purchase alternate sizes, forms, or brands of infant formula.”

FRAC: Thrifty Food Plan Reevaluation and SNAP Emergency Allotments Combined to Cut Poverty

“The states registering the highest poverty reduction percentages from the combination of TFP reevaluation and SNAP EAs were: New Mexico (-26.4 percent), Oklahoma (-22.2), Louisiana (-21.1), West Virginia (-20.9), Mississippi (-20.8), and Rhode Island (-20.5).”

USDA: USDA Announces Increased Funding for School Meals, Child and Adult Care Meals

“U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced an increase in funding to help schools continue to serve kids healthy meals this coming school year and provide financial relief for schools and child care providers.”

KOCO: COVID-19 public health emergency extended in the US

“Plus, many low-income families are receiving enhanced food stamp benefits thanks to the declaration.”

Tulsa World: New legislation could extend COVID school meal waivers

“Hunger Free Oklahoma and many others have been calling for action on these crucial issues for months now,” Executive Director Chris Bernard said.

FRAC: FRAC’s Community Eligibility Report Highlights Value of Healthy School Meals for All, Supporting Need to Extend Child Nutrition Waivers

“Schools that participate in community eligibility often see increased participation in school meals, decreased stigma around school meal participation, a reduction in administrative burdens and costs to schools, and bolstered school nutrition finances.”

Tulsa World: School districts bracing for end of COVID-19 meal waivers

“The waivers were designed to respond to COVID-19, and it’s this mindset of acting like ‘COVID-19 is over, so we’re not dealing with it,’” Hunger Free Oklahoma Executive Director Chris Barnard said. “Regardless of your opinion on the public health side of it, the impacts aren’t over.”

Supermarket News: Amazon eyes nationwide acceptance of SNAP EBT for online grocery payments

“E-tail giant extends its reach to more than 99% of SNAP households.”

FRAC: New Data Underscore Importance of SNAP Benefit Redemptions During COVID-19

“With Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) benefits taken into account, SNAP benefit redemptions topped $125 billion in FY 2021, according to new data from USDA.  That represented a 61 percent increase over the prior year.”

Time: A Crisis Point.' Schools Are Fighting to Extend a Meal Program That Keeps Millions of Kids Fed

“…when the omnibus package that funds the government for Fiscal Year 2022 was introduced last month, an extension of the funding for school meal waivers wasn’t part of it. Instead, schools faced a looming deadline: the waivers are set to expire June 30.”

Tulsa World: Schools will stop serving free lunch to all students — a pandemic solution left out of new federal spending package

“…most schools will have to resume the old three-tiered system where some families don’t pay at all, some receive discounted lunches, and others must pay full price.”

Tulsa World Column: Ways for lawmakers to curb hunger and build economic security for Oklahomans

“It’s a new year, but many previous challenges remain. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Oklahoma has the fourth highest food insecurity rate in the nation.”

Tulsa World Editorial: New federal agriculture programs could reshape American food supply

“The first grants from new U.S. Department of Agriculture programs intended to bolster food purchasing from local producers are coming to Oklahoma through the schools.”

Reuters: Nutrition benefits for families could increase under U.S. agency proposal

“The USDA proposed expanding the list of groceries participants in the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program can buy to include grains like quinoa and teff, a range of non-dairy milks and cheeses as well as canned fish and beans.”

FRAC: USDA Food Security Report Underscores the Critical Role of Federal Nutrition Programs

“The annual food security report released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (ERS) found that hunger fell in 2021 compared to the previous year, underscoring the critical role that the federal nutrition programs play in keeping hunger at bay during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

NPR: The U.S. diet is deadly. Here are 7 ideas to get Americans eating healthier

“Without access to free meals at school, many children go without food at all during the day, and many more do not have access to the nutritious foods they need to thrive.”

MSN: Exclusive: Biden administration likely to extend baby formula help for low-income moms

“A spokesperson for the Agriculture Department, which oversees the WIC program, confirmed the department is taking ‘a very serious look at extending the flexibilities and hopes to do so soon.’ ”

St. Louis Public Radio: Native Americans across Midwest embrace traditional foods rejected by centuries of colonization

“The Quapaw Nation in Oklahoma has been at the forefront of building food sovereignty programs.”

USDA: USDA to Invest in Expanding SNAP Online Shopping

“Online grocery shopping is a vital resource that improves access and convenience for all, including low-income families.”

KTUL: COVID-19 meal waivers to end in June leaving some students hungry

“According to Hunger Free Oklahoma, Oklahoma is historically the worst state in the nation with kids who are on free and reduced lunch, and the State Department of Education says meals will no longer be free even if the federal waivers were approved, students will only be able to get free lunch if they qualify for it, and fill out the free and reduced meal form.”

WGN Radio: Global finance meeting focuses on war-driven food insecurity

“Global finance leaders are putting the growing crisis over food insecurity and skyrocketing food prices at center stage as members of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank meet in Washington and grapple with the brutal effects of Russia’s war against Ukraine.”

FRAC: FRAC Urges Senate to Pass Bi-Partisan Legislation to Keep Children Fed as the Nation Recovers from the Pandemic

The Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) commends Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) for introducing a bill, the Support Kids Not Red Tape Act, that will enable children to maintain continued access to child nutrition programs as families, schools, afterschool and summer programs, and child care providers recover from and respond to the economic, health, and educational fallout from the pandemic.

FRAC: USDA Report Underscores the Urgent Need to Extend Child Nutrition Waivers

“Congress must provide the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) with the authority to continue child nutrition waivers through the 2022-2023 school year in the appropriations package currently being negotiated and expected to pass this week.”

FRAC: Black History Month: Six Champions Fighting to #EndHungerNow in America

“Advocates include Members of Congress sponsoring and introducing legislation, as well as leaders in nonprofit advocacy organizations.”

FOX 23: Broken Arrow farmers market to accept SNAP and SFMNP for first time

“The farmers market will open on Saturday, April 2, for its 19th season and will be open on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. through October.”

Pressroom

For media inquiries, contact Melissa Marshall, Communications and PR Manager: melissa.marshall@hungerfreeok.org, 405-850-0467

Hunger Free Oklahoma Secures $14.2 Million Grant to Increase Access to Fruits and Vegetables in Oklahoma Food Deserts

Tuesday, November 22, 2022 (Tulsa, OK) – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today that Hunger Free Oklahoma is the recipient of the largest recorded Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP) grant.

Hunger Free Oklahoma Applauds Child Nutrition Flexibilities in Keep Kids Fed Act 

TULSA, Okla. (June 22, 2022) – “Congress took an important step yesterday to combat childhood hunger with the announcement of an agreement to protect access to school and summer meals through the introduction of the bipartisan Keep the Kids Fed Act…”

Oklahoma Children and Youth Now Eligible for Free Summer Meals Statewide

TULSA, Okla. (June 8, 2022) – As summer kicks into full gear, meal sites across the state are opening their doors and providing free summer meals to children and youth. Any Oklahoma child 18 and under is eligible to receive a free meal at any of the hundreds of participating meal sites while kids are out of school on summer break.

Hunger Free Oklahoma Adds Narine Lambert and Keili McEwen to Executive Team

TULSA, Okla. (March 28, 2022) – Hunger Free Oklahoma (HFO) has hired new organizational leadership with the addition of Narine Lambert as Director of Finance and Administration and Keili McEwen as Director of Strategic Advancement.

Hunger Free Oklahoma Executive Director Testifies at Congressional House Committee on Rules Roundtable on Rural Hunger

December 8, 2021 (Tulsa, OK) Chris Bernard, Hunger Free Oklahoma’s executive director, was invited to testify at a congressional roundtable, along with four other experts from across the nation, as part of an effort to examine the issue of hunger in rural America.

Oklahoma Lawmakers Join LOCAL Coalition on Visit to Grocery Store Utilizing “Double Up Oklahoma” Program

November 30, 2021 (Okemah, OK) – The Homeland grocery store in Okemah has implemented Double Up Oklahoma (DUO), a nutrition incentive program operated by Hunger Free Oklahoma. The Lift Oklahoma Communities, Agriculture, and Lifestyles (LOCAL) Coalition is seeking ways to expand the DUO program across the state through a stronger public/private partnership.

Hunger Free Oklahoma Secures USDA Grant to Address Reduced Access to Fruits and Vegetables Due to COVID-19

Monday, August 23, 2021 (Tulsa, OK) – Last week, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that Hunger Free Oklahoma was 1 of 35 recipients nationally to be awarded a Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program COVID-19 Relief and Response (GusCRR) grant. 

HFO Applauds USDA for Modernizing SNAP Benefit Amounts for the First Time Since 1975 to More Accurately Reflect Costs of a Healthy Diet

Tuesday, August 17, 2021 (Tulsa, OK) – Hunger Free Oklahoma applauds the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), USDA Secretary Vilsack, and President Biden for implementing the directives of the 2018 Farm Bill by re-evaluating the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP) based on current data and economics.

Hunger Free Oklahoma receives $50,000 grant to support SNAP outreach

Tuesday, June 15, 2021 (Tulsa, OK) – Hunger Free Oklahoma (HFO) announced today it has received a $50,000 grant from Telligen Community Initiative (TCI), a private, Iowa-based charitable foundation.

Jay Homeland now doubling the value of SNAP for fruits and vegetables

Thursday, May 20, 2021 (JAY, OK) – Delaware County residents won’t have to choose between eating enough and eating healthy thanks to a new program called Double Up Oklahoma (DUO), a nutrition incentive program operated by Hunger Free Oklahoma.

Hunger Free Oklahoma awarded USDA GusNIP grant to expand Double Up Oklahoma program

Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020 (TULSA, OK) – Hunger Free Oklahoma was awarded a $500,000 matching grant from the United States Department of Agriculture to expand Double Up Oklahoma in farmers markets across the state and to pilot a grocery store program in rural Oklahoma.

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