Where would you lay your head at night if you were homeless? How would you find daily food and basic necessities if you were homeless? Most people are fortunate enough to never have to experience that circumstance, but for more than 1,500 individuals living in Oklahoman City, those questions are a dark reality they must face every single day. With unexpected job loss for thousands of Oklahoma City residents and the resulting impending evictions due to not being able to pay rent from loss of income, the rate of homelessness is expected to rise due to the economic effects of COVID-19.
For many years, Feed the Children has been able to help serve the Oklahoma City homeless population through its partnership with the Homeless Alliance of Oklahoma. Together, they’ve provided thousands of Oklahomans with ready-to-eat snacks and boxes of shelf-stable food such as canned vegetables and lean protein, much-needed hygiene items such as toothpaste and shampoo, as well other resources for the future.
Without a home, people are unable to properly shelter in place. They often do not have access to running water, causing proper sanitation, which is crucial to avoiding the spread of the virus, to be even more difficult. In the new age of COVID-19, social distancing measures for homeless communities across the United States poses a unique challenge when they need to crowd into enclosed spaces to receive food.
“The demand for food has always been there, but access has changed significantly,” said Meghan Mueller, Director of Community Capacity Building at Homeless Alliance of Oklahoma. “Traditionally people who are experiencing homelessness access food in large congregate areas that we know aren’t safe amid a pandemic. This has led us to take a significantly more active role in food distribution both for our clients in housing and those who live outdoors and in camps.”
Feed the Children’s donation of food, supplies and hygiene products has allowed the Homeless Alliance of Oklahoma to make 100 hygiene packs for families. They are also working on 500 outreach sacks to deliver food, supplies and educational materials to people who are unsheltered. In addition, they have made 150 food boxes with the intention of going door-to-door to people’s doorsteps to meet the needs of some of their most vulnerable housed clients who don’t have the resources to stock up.
“Feed the Children is a critical partner for us right now. They are providing us with the essential supplies that our clients need in order to survive,” said Mueller.
Because of YOUR generosity, Feed the Children is better equipped to help fellow nonprofits like the Homeless Alliance. Please join us to #DefeaHunger and lend a hand to those who are suffering today. Hope for the future is possible while we work together to #CancelHunger.