With approximately 84 percent of Oklahoma children relying on free or reduced lunch programs during the school year, the lack of this resource leaves many local families uncertain about their next meal over the summer break. To help alleviate this concern Feed the Children, a leading nonprofit focused on alleviating childhood hunger, partnered with nonprofit organizations across Oklahoma to deliver 250,000 meals to thousands of students this summer through the organization’s inaugural Feed & Read program.
Through this initiative, shelf-stable meal kits were distributed to Oklahoma City-area children during the summer months when they were not able to access school meals. The organization also partnered with additional nonprofits across the state to provide food and beverages to support summer meal programs. In total, Feed the Children provided nearly 300,000 pounds of food and beverages to support these efforts.
The organization believes that education is key to breaking the cycle of poverty. As part of the Feed & Read program, Feed the Children distributed more than 500 books to participants. The organization also partnered with the Metropolitan Library Association-Bethany Library’s summer reading program which included free access to the Beanstack app to track number of books and minutes read. In total, participants tracked more than 261,000 minutes of reading during the program.
For many vulnerable families, 2023 has meant new challenges that made this summer more difficult. Even as prices continue to rise, federal emergency funding for SNAP benefits ended earlier this year affecting thousands of Oklahomans who were already struggling with food insecurity. Oklahoma ranks 45th in the nation for child food insecurity, and 46th for overall food insecurity, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
To help offset out-of-pocket expenses, Feed the Children provided more than 40,000 pounds of essential household items as part of the Feed & Read program such as laundry detergent, cleaning supplies and hygiene items. By supplying these items, Feed the Children provides parents and caregivers an opportunity to keep more room in their budget for food.
“We are thrilled to have been able to reach so many children in the greater Oklahoma City area through our inaugural Feed & Read program,” said Tamara Sandberg, vice president of U.S. Program Development for Feed the Children. “We are looking forward to being able to deepen our impact on childhood hunger through this program in the coming years.”
Individuals and businesses can make a difference in the lives of children and their families by supporting Feed the Children’s efforts to fight hunger. For more information on how Feed the Children helps children in Oklahoma, across America and around the world.