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HFO Executive Director Chris Bernard speaks with KOCO about the $14.2M grant for the Double Up Oklahoma program.

Hunger Free Oklahoma in the News

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

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Double Up Oklahoma Program Now Available in Sand Springs

“We are 49th in the country in fruit and vegetable consumption which leads to all sorts of health problems. So we really do this as a way to one: increase food security and two: increase healthy outcomes for Oklahomans and also to stimulate local economies,” Bernard said.

KGOU: Oklahoma students will see increased access to summer meals under omnibus bill

“The most effective way to deal with food insecurity, period, is an EBT model, to give people the resources to purchase their own food when they need it, and the beauty of that program is it stimulates local economies. It keeps money flowing through local businesses,” – Chris Bernard

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

“Collectively, this support will allow us to make Double Up Oklahoma the largest nutrition incentive program in the region. More importantly, this grant allows us to make sure more communities have access to fresh fruits and vegetables and more Oklahomans have the resources they need to make healthy choices,” – Chris Bernard

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.”

Tulsa World: 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.”

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.

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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

Watch

HFO Executive Director Chris Bernard speaks with KOCO about the $14.2M grant for the Double Up Oklahoma program.

“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

Chris Bernard, HFO Executive Director, speaks on an Oklahoma Watch Out panel on the impact of hunger in Oklahoma.

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

Listen

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

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

Why You Should Donate Food & Blood

Chris Bernard talks food insecurity with Tulsa Area United Way, one of our community collaborations.

Hunger in the News

Read news coverage about hunger issues, opportunities, and improvements affecting Oklahomans.

KFOR: ‘We need everyone to change their pin’: Oklahoma Human Services warns of SNAP scams

As card skimming scams continue to cripple Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) customers nationwide by draining their accounts, Oklahoma Human Services is now recommending anyone with the benefits to change their pin numbers immediately.

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.”

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 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.”

KGOU: Oklahoma students will see increased access to summer meals under omnibus bill

“The most effective way to deal with food insecurity, period, is an EBT model, to give people the resources to purchase their own food when they need it, and the beauty of that program is it stimulates local economies. It keeps money flowing through local businesses,” said Bernard.

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

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.”

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.”

Pressroom

For media inquiries, contact Melissa Marshall, Communications and PR Manager: 405-850-0467.

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