by Hunger Free Oklahoma Communications Staff
When the school year ends, so do school meals. For the more than 30,000 Tulsa Public Schools students who eat free and reduced price school meals, this means an increased risk of missing out on a nutritious meal. And for the kids eating a free and reduced price school lunch, only 4.7 percent received a Summer Meal in 2017. Due to this wide disparity, partners across Tulsa are working together to connect more kids and teens to no-cost Summer Meals by raising awareness about the program.
This year, Tulsa kicked-off the Summer Meals Program at McKinley Elementary School on June 3. Over 140 students and their families took part in the event and experienced a wide-range of free activities and meals. Community partners and volunteers showed up to help make the event full of food, friends, and fun! Families enjoyed face painting, a hot meal, free t-shirts, sidewalk bowling, chalk art, STEM activities, and sack races with the University of Tulsa Football and Women’s Basketball teams.
“Summer Meal Programs are more important than ever before as families struggle to make ends meet,” said Eileen Bradshaw, Executive Director of the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma. “We want families to know that our program and others provide a safe, supervised and fun place for kids and teens to socialize, play and continue to learn during the summer.”
The event could not have taken place without the hard work and enthusiasm of community volunteers, TPS staff, and anti-hunger advocates collaborating to make the Summer Meals Kick-Off a success for the families in the community. Tulsa City Councilors Vanessa Hall-Harper of District 1 and Lori Decter Wright of District 7 were in attendance to show support for the Summer Meals Program.
Thank you to the community partners who helped put on the event and ensured that kids had food, friends, and fun!
TPS, Tulsa Regional STEM Alliance, Tulsa Mobile Library, YWCA, Metropolitan Environmental Trust, Paul Mitchell The School Tulsa, Tulsa Transit, Microsoft, Tulsa Police Department, TPS Campus Police, Tulsa Fire Department, EMSA, Fresh Point, Reasor’s, Gathering Place, Reading Partners Tulsa, Hunger Free Oklahoma, Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma and TU Football and Women’s Basketball teams.
For more information about the Summer Meals Program visit, www.Meals4KidsOK.org.