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Hunger Free Oklahoma Launches LEARN Workshop to Amplify Perspectives of Those Experiencing Food Insecurity

To amplify the voices of those who experience hunger and food insecurity, Hunger Free Oklahoma is launching the Lived Experience and Resource Network (LEARN) Workshop that includes a paid eight-month program beginning September 2024 for Tulsa and surrounding area residents.

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Capitol Insider: Latest News on Food Insecurity Policy & Advocacy (June 2024)

The Oklahoma Legislature adjourned from regular session on May 30, 2024, one day before constitutionally required. Since then, the Governor signed the budget and many additional bills into law. While the legislative session is over, there were several missed opportunities to invest in improving food security for Oklahomans. We will continue our work in the interim to build a better understanding of the issues for state legislators.

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Group of people smiling for the camera with legislator in US Capitol setting

Congressional Visits: Making Advocacy Easy and Accessible

On June 5, a team representing Hunger Free Oklahoma (HFO), the Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma, and the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma went to Washington, D.C. where they discussed the upcoming Farm Bill with our Oklahoma delegation. For several, it was their first time to make Congressional visits. Here is a glimpse into some of their experiences, proving that anyone passionate about these issues can engage with their elected officials.

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Summer EBT: Providing a Healthy Summer for Kids

The Muscogee Nation is partnering with the Chickasaw Nation, the Cherokee Nation, Hunger Free Oklahoma, and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to introduce the Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer Program for Children (Summer EBT) to the Muscogee Nation Reservation. Summer EBT provides additional nutritional support to eligible children during the summer months when they do not have access to school meals.

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Making Summer Nutrition a SNAP: A Grocery Assistance Explainer

As summer approaches, households with school-age children can find themselves in a tough position. Without school to supplement some of their kids’ nutrition needs throughout the day, grocery budgets get stretched and what a family can afford may be limited.

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Ladder of Youth Voice

YAC is an intergenerational approach to authentic youth engagement and we follow the Ladder of Youth Voice, adopted by Adam Fletcher. The lowest levels of the ladder represent programs with youth who are not able to make decisions on the projects they work on, the activities they do, and can appear to be in token roles. The highest levels of the ladder represent programs with youth who are leading projects, making decisions, practicing conflict resolution, and embodying a youth-driving atmosphere. We strive for youth/adult equity in our Youth Action Council program at Hunger Free Oklahoma.

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State Capitol ceiling

Capitol Insider: Latest News on Food Insecurity Policy & Advocacy (May 2024)

Budget negotiations seem to be drawing to a close, just in the nick of time as the Legislature’s May 31 deadline to adjourn sine die swiftly approaches. Last week, House and Senate leaders reported reaching an agreement on the Fiscal Year 2025 budget, and even scheduled sessions on Memorial Day to tie up loose strings before the end of the week.

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A group of diverse people stand on the front steps of the Oklahoma State Capitol building.

Politics Take a Back Seat to Hunger at Anti-Hunger Day at the Capitol

“Fight for the things that you care about. But do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

This quote hangs in my office as a daily reminder to myself and others. A reminder that true advocacy is not just about fighting for what matters to you – it is about inspiring others to join the conversation. Justice Ginsburg’s words are especially important in reflection of Anti-Hunger Day at the Capitol.

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More than 100 people gathered in the rotunda of the Oklahoma State Capitol building.

Capitol Insider: Latest News on Food Insecurity Policy & Advocacy (April 2024)

It’s a busy week at the Capitol! February 26 and 29 are the first series of deadlines for filed legislation to make it out of committee. While it’s still early in the session, after this week we’ll have a better idea of which bills stand a fighting chance to make it all the way to the Governor’s desk.

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Portrait of Alfred Gary smiling at the camera in an outdoor setting

Collaborative Progress: Navigating the Nonlinear Path to End Hunger in Oklahoma

Just eight months ago, I received an email which said the following: “Hunger and poverty exist EVERYWHERE.” The reminder came a few weeks after accepting an invitation to join the Congressional Hunger Center’s 30th class of Emerson Fellows. For those not familiar with the program, the Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellowship trains and inspires new leaders in the movement to end hunger and poverty in the United States. Fellows gain vital first-hand experience through placements with community-based organizations across the country coupled with policy-focused organizations in Washington, D.C.

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A group of people listen to two presenters in a large conference room

Getting Oklahoma Libraries Involved in Anti-Hunger Solutions

At the beginning of March, Hunger Free Oklahoma (HFO) team members joined the Oklahoma Library Association (OLA) annual conference in Tulsa. During this two-day event, HFO staff engaged with public, school-based, and university library staff about opportunities to address hunger in their communities. HFO had the opportunity to share ways to get connected in anti-hunger work through several presentations, including topics on summer meals tips, SNAP outreach, and resources for libraries to get involved in feeding programs. 

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State Capitol ceiling

Capitol Insider: Latest News on Food Insecurity Policy & Advocacy (March 2024)

It’s a busy week at the Capitol! February 26 and 29 are the first series of deadlines for filed legislation to make it out of committee. While it’s still early in the session, after this week we’ll have a better idea of which bills stand a fighting chance to make it all the way to the Governor’s desk.

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Elementary students eat their in classroom breakfast_hunger free oklahoma

National School Breakfast Week is here again!

There’s no easy way to say this… school breakfast participation across Oklahoma is down. Average Daily Participation (ADP*) in school breakfast dropped by 9.8% from School Year (SY) 2021-2022 to SY 2022-2023.

The decline in school meals participation could stem from multiple factors. The Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) notes, “Rising food costs, labor shortages, and supply chain disruptions, coupled with the return of charging for meals, have contributed to reports of declining participation in many school districts. Families have been confused about the change from pandemic operations; stigma surrounding school meal participation and school meal debt has returned; and schools are burdened with increased administrative work.”

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Portrait of John Hoang in front of a green park-like background

“Peace is a form of generational wealth.” – Dr. Monifa, M.D.

In the movie Barbie, as Ruth Handler walks with Barbie, she says, “We mothers stand still, so our daughters can look back to see how far they’ve come.” As I reminisce about my six-month tenure in Oklahoma as a Bill Emerson Hunger Fellow, I think about the generations of my Vietnamese ancestors that longed for a future of joy, stability, and imagination beyond the atrocities of colonization, war, and poverty.

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State Capitol ceiling

Capitol Insider: Latest News on Food Insecurity Policy & Advocacy (February 2024)

It’s a busy week at the Capitol! February 26 and 29 are the first series of deadlines for filed legislation to make it out of committee. While it’s still early in the session, after this week we’ll have a better idea of which bills stand a fighting chance to make it all the way to the Governor’s desk.

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Workers assembling meals

Summer Meals Regional Convenings to Kick Off February 22

HFO will hold three Summer Meals Regional Convenings in partnership with the Childhood Food Security Coalition (CFSC), Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma (FBEO), and Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma (RFBO). These convenings will replace the previous annual Summer Meals Kick-off format. 

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Long-term Impacts Take Long-term Work

I recently spoke on the value of systems change and advocacy to a group of nonprofit leaders convened by the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits. I was recognized with an innovation award, which was an acknowledgement of HFO’s staff and partner’s ability to creatively implement original approaches to fighting hunger in our state. I noted that the most important step for innovation is scaling. If it is not scalable, then an innovation is not a solution.

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Make Every Tuesday Giving Tuesday with Monthly Donations to Hunger Free Oklahoma

As we approach the holidays, we encounter many heartbreaking and heartwarming stories of need and generosity. We are all appropriately moved by accounts of struggling families who are gifted boxes loaded with turkeys and all the trimmings. We know that everyone deserves to gather at the table with loved ones, and we express this value by charitable giving, almost a third of which happens in December. Our giving reflects our belief that everyone should have a full belly and a full heart this time of year.

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State Capitol ceiling

Capitol Insider: Latest News on Food Insecurity Policy & Advocacy (November 2023)

Winds of change bring us cooler temperatures and a swift conclusion to the 2023 special session Governor Stitt requested on tax cuts and budget transparency. As we look ahead to the end of the calendar year, advocates will be focusing on the smattering of remaining interim studies scheduled in the coming weeks, a few special elections, and eagerly awaiting December 8 and January 18 deadlines for bills to be requested and filed for 2024’s Legislative Session.

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A graph showing the prevalence of food insecurity in households with children, 2001-22.

Hunger Free Oklahoma Releases Statement on USDA’s 2022 Household Food Security in the United States Report

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its 2022 Household Food Security in the United States report this week. The USDA report shows a national increase in food insecurity rates, and state-level data reports Oklahoma’s food insecurity rate is higher than the national average.

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Happy family sharing food

Oklahoma Schools Can Prevent Household Hunger

While hunger and soaring prices continue to affect Oklahomans, SNAP offers a multi-generational intervention with a track record for improving food security.

Because schools have the data and relationships to connect families to food resources, they are uniquely positioned to reach and improve food security for many of Oklahoma’s most vulnerable families.

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State Capitol ceiling

Capitol Insider: Latest News on Food Insecurity Policy & Advocacy (October 2023)

Winds of change bring us cooler temperatures and a swift conclusion to the 2023 special session Governor Stitt requested on tax cuts and budget transparency. As we look ahead to the end of the calendar year, advocates will be focusing on the smattering of remaining interim studies scheduled in the coming weeks, a few special elections, and eagerly awaiting December 8 and January 18 deadlines for bills to be requested and filed for 2024’s Legislative Session.

Read more »

Working together for a hunger free Oklahoma.

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