Oklahoma Summer Food and Education Program #HelpKidsBeKids

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Feed the Children

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Feed the Children and I was compensated for my time in creating this post!

Did you know that many children during the school year go hungry at home and that sometimes their only meals are at school. So what happens to these kids when Summer starts and school is out? The cruel truth in Oklahoma is that the school lunch program that lower-income families depend on shuts down for the summer break, which means roughly 300,0001 children may be left without a stable source of nutrition. While the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) helps fill that gap over the summer, in Oklahoma – Feed the Children’s home state –very few agencies are involved with the summer meals program. This is very alarming! In fact, I had no idea that Oklahoma has the lowest participation rate in SFSP, ranking 51st in the country.

I am so happy to hear that Feed the Children is launching a pilot program to help end hunger called the Oklahoma Summer Food and Education Program, which will be tested across Oklahoma this summer to address those children who lose access to free or subsidized meals that are offered during the school year. In partnership with the USDA Food and Nutrition Services (FNS), the program provides:

  • Better Access to More Meals — To give families longer-term support – and meals that can be consumed at home – Feed the Children will provide 115,000 meals, many of which will be purchased with private funds, that can be brought home.
  • Nourishing Bodies and Minds — At 11 USDA FNS-approved feeding sites, Feed the Children will provide books and educational resources for children, as well as backpacks and supplies for the school year. They will also test out several innovative activities that may help children to excel during the school year, and conduct a study on why some low-income parents send their children for the meals while others do not.

Results from the pilot will be offered as evidence-based research to Feed the Children partners to identify ways to better solve summer food insecurity that have impact, are far-reaching and cost-effective.

Feed the Children recently announced there new mission and vision, they said the reason behind this was…

Our renewed vision, mission and approach is to end child hunger. The change reflects our commitment to working together so that more kids can just be kids and no child ever goes to bed hungry. It’s a promise we make to the world and to ourselves about how we will carry out our mission. Our mission stays the same: to ensure that no child goes to bed hungry. Our brand is how we accomplish this mission.

The current system is broken. Millions of organizations have vowed to fight hunger – yet in more than 60 years, there’s still so much more to do. We want to defeat the status quo of hunger by challenging our peer groups to unite with us, and to approach things differently.

Most try to do it alone and focus more on what families and communities lack rather than the resources they already have. To only feed people perpetuates the cycle of poverty. To only attack the root causes neglects those in need today. To believe one organization can do it alone is hubris and simply maintains the status quo. At Feed the Children, we know that to end childhood hunger, we need to empower families, unite forces with other organizations and businesses, and attack the problem from all angles with the best, proven methods we can find.

We can’t end hunger alone, and we cannot end it doing what we have always done. Instead of competing and working in silos, we want to join together to share what’s worked and what hasn’t and to focus on how to get to the roots of hunger so we can eradicate it together.

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