Famine and Hunger Issues

Oklahoma’s Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust expects more people will need help buying healthy food amid an economic downturn driven largely by the COVID-19 pandemic.

TSET will award up to $1 million in grants through a new food access program to help with that.

"We know that one in six [people] and one in four children in Oklahoma suffer from food insecurity, and early data shows that number is likely to have increased dramatically with the recent economic downturn," said TSET Executive Director Julie Bisbee.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we hear from two institutions which are gearing up to feed more Tulsans and Oklahomans during the pandemic. Jorge Robles is the Chief Operating Officer of the Tulsa Public Schools, which instituted a feeding program that is now serving lunch and breakfast for 23,000 children a day at school sites and bus stops throughout the district.

On this edition of our program, we're discussing a recent DHS-related proposal put forth by the Trump Administration as well as local efforts to challenge this proposal. The proposal in question would change the accepted ferderal definition of Public Charge, which is a term used by immigration officials to refer to certain legal immigrants who are able to receive government benefits like food assistance, housing assistance, and health care.

On this edition of our show, we learn all about Kendall Whittier, Incorporated, or KWI, which is a neighborhood-minded and long-running nonprofit now marking its 50th Anniversary. KWI is, per its website, "a home-grown organization incorporating self-sufficiency for our neighbors through food security, nutritional health, and well-being." KWI -- the only food pantry in the Tulsa area that actually delivers to its participants' doorsteps -- will host an event tonight (Thursday the 7th) in celebartion of its Golden Anniversary.

For every six Oklahomans, one is hungry, according to the latest data. And as the U.S. Congress looks to potentially address a $1.5 trillion projected deficit, many domestic programs face an uncertain if not bleak future -- including food-assistance and hunger-relief programs -- both here in the Sooner State and nationwide. On this edition of ST, we are discussing these matters with Effie Craven, who is the State Advocacy and Public Policy Director for both of the Oklahoma Food Banks (i.e., the Regional Food Bank in OKC as well as the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma in Tulsa).

On this broadcast of ST Medical Monday, our guest is Chris Bernard, the executive director of Hunger Free Oklahoma. This nonprofit, per its website, "works to bring a unified, statewide voice to the issue and solutions surrounding hunger, with a goal to ensure all Oklahomans have access to affordable, nutritious food. Hunger Free Oklahoma holds the core belief that hunger is solvable, unnecessary, and unjust, and it impacts everyone living in Oklahoma.

Our guest on ST today is Eileen Bradshaw, Executive Director of the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma. The Food Bank, as it's commonly known, is the largest private hunger-relief organization in eastern Oklahoma; it's been around since 1981. As is noted at this special nonprofit's website: "Our vision is food security, with dignity, for all eastern Oklahomans.... With locations in Tulsa and McAlester, we provide food and other donated goods to 450 Partner Programs in 24 counties of eastern Oklahoma.