A report released last week by the Food Research and Action Center shows Oklahoma had the nation’s third-highest increase in summer meal participation from 2017 to 2018 with a 14.9 percent increase, but still ranks last overall. Approximately 570 summer meal sites served 16,612 Oklahoma kids daily in July 2018.
Summer meals are crucial because when the school year ends, so do school meals. For the more than 425,000 Oklahoma kids who eat free and reduced-price school meals at school, this means a heightened risk of going hungry. The Summer Food Service Program, a U.S. Department of Agriculture program administered by the Oklahoma State Department of Education, works to combat childhood hunger by partnering with local nonprofits and faith-based organizations to provide meals at no cost to kids 18 years old and younger.
The increase is a result of a targeted effort by many Oklahoma organizations that began in spring 2018 and continues to grow.