Meal Sites for Children
The Regional Food Bank staff continues to work with the Oklahoma State Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to open more meal sites where any child up to age 18 can receive a free meal and snack on weekdays. New sites are being added daily at Meals4KidsOK.org.
Learning begins when hunger ends. One in four children in Oklahoma lives in households that are struggling to put food on the table.
Through the Backpack Program, which is part of the Food for Kids Programs, children receive a food sack full of kid-friendly, non-perishable and nutritious food on Friday to sustain them over weekends and school holidays.
Last year, the Regional Food Bank saw a dramatic increase in the need for food assistance. In total, the Backpack Program served 19,051 chronically hungry elementary school students attending 481 schools.
The Regional Food Bank delivers pre-assembled food sacks to participating schools at no cost to the school or the child. The food bags contain approximately 10 different purchased foods designed to provide nutrition and calories for chronically hungry children over the weekend.
The Regional Food Bank launched the Backpack Program in 2003 after learning about a student who passed out while waiting in the school lunch line because he had very little to eat at home over the weekend. The pilot program originally served 180 chronically hungry children in 5 Oklahoma City elementary schools.
This program is vital to help students like Terrance have enough to eat over the weekend. Terrance is an active third grader who lists physical education as his favorite subject. He said if he didn’t receive a food sack each week, he wouldn’t have any food to eat over the weekend.
“We are very poor,” said Terrance. “I’m just really hungry all the time. It’s really thoughtful that people give money for the backpack program. It helps a lot to have that food because we’re always starving.”
Provides food, tutoring and more to students after school and over the summer.