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Federal grant helping food insecure communities in Oklahoma

Posted at 1:01 AM, Nov 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-27 10:12:53-05

TULSA, Okla. — With inflation setting food prices at an all-time high, a $14.2 million grant is making it possible for Hunger Free Oklahoma to expand a program that is helping put fresh, healthy food on dinner tables across the state.

The news comes as a huge relief for low-income families shopping for their Thanksgiving essentials.

Sherry Daniels is among hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans getting ready for Thanksgiving Day, shopping Wednesday for those last-minute items at Oasis Fresh Market.

“Three big kids, two play football, you know how they eat, and then my husband and I," Daniels said.

With prices on the rise, she said her budget has gotten a little tighter.

“You know that you have to pay your bills and then you have kids in college, and you have to pay tuition," Daniels said.

Daniels uses the snap program to make sure she and her family have food on the table.

“All our money is getting stretched to other resources, so it helps me and my family tremendously throughout the month,” Daniels said.

While she shopped, she took advantage of "Double Up Oklahoma," also known as DUO through Hunger Free Oklahoma.

The DUO program matches every dollar families spend with SNAP benefits. Those families can then use the money to buy fruits and vegetables.

The federal grant is expanding the DUO program to 50 of Oklahoma's most food-insecure communities. The program is operating in 17 farmer's markets and ten grocery stores across the state. One of those is Oasis Fresh Market in Tulsa.

“That’s why Oasis is here, planted in the middle of a desert and when you know it’s like a fountain to drink, and you’re in the dessert, it’s like you finally found that place… that’s how it is. It’s like we’re quenching the thirst of people who haven't’ had anything for 14 years," Daniels said.

For Daniels, the DUO program allows her to share a thanksgiving meal with her family.

“You can use it on packaged greens, sweet potatoes, yams, collard greens, even vegetables that are contained…that’s also an item that’s eligible for DUO.”

It's something she said she's very thankful for.

“It’s amazing because that’s probably going to be about 40 dollars for all my collective items to use in several things…my turkey needs something, my potato salad, my collard greens," Daniels said.

Chris Bernard with Hunger Free Oklahoma said they are hoping to expand the program to all 77 counties in Oklahoma by 2028.

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