01/12/24 – Updated to add the Osage Nation to the list of Tribal Nations providing food assistance.
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Statement from OK Policy Executive Director Shiloh Kantz:
Every Oklahoman should be concerned that nearly 1 in 5 of our state’s children are uncertain when their next meal will come, and 84% of our children rely on free or reduced-price lunches during the school year. To turn our backs on a proven, effective way to ensure our children have enough to eat is inexcusable.
It’s welcome news that the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Osage Nations are stepping up to provide summer food programs for all children — Native and non-Native alike — within their reservations, especially considering the governor’s deliberate decision to turn his back on hungry children purely for political gain.
Food security has long been a pressing issue in Oklahoma, especially for children during the summer months. Without action by lawmakers, this situation will not improve. Creating change requires advocates and families to raise their voices to ensure that Oklahoma’s policymakers understand how serious an issue this is for too many of our friends and neighbors.
As a Cherokee Nation citizen, I continue to be so proud of my Tribe and the many other Tribal Nations that have stepped up to fill the gaps created by our state’s lack of investment into our future — our children.
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- From OK Policy: KIDS COUNT 2023 Report Shows Oklahoma Ranks 46th for Child Well-Being
- Policy Matters: Summer months bring hungry Oklahomans (June 2023) [Shiloh Kantz / Journal Record]