OKLAHOMA CITY (April 3, 2018) As many school districts across Oklahoma closed on Monday, and again today, due to a Statewide Teacher Walkout, The Salvation Army was requested by many school boards, other agencies and nonprofits in several communities to ensure students did not go without meals while school is cancelled. One in four Oklahoma children are food insecure and rely on the Free and Reduced Breakfast and Lunch program offered at most public schools.
Salvation Army locations in Bartlesville, Chickasha, Enid, Lawton, Muskogee, Oklahoma City, Shawnee, Stillwater and Tulsa are all involved in assisting students while schools are closed. The Chickasha Salvation Army is partnering with First Baptist Church to provide a safe place to go during the day as well as providing breakfast, lunch and snacks. The Muskogee Salvation Army has sandwiches available for students who are not in school due to the walkout. Stillwater is shuttling students currently registered in their after-school program for lunch to ensure they receive a meal during the day.
The Tulsa Salvation Army’s Boys and Girls Clubs has six locations across the Tulsa metropolitan area. The Clubs are open to members and accepting walk-in students as a safe place for area children and youth while schools are closed. They are partnering with Tulsa Public Schools to provide breakfast and lunch while The Salvation Army is providing daily snacks, and activities such as crafts, board games, basketball and more. Captain Ken Chapman, Area Commander for the Metro Tulsa Area Command, states “While not taking political sides with the issues, we are responding to the needs of parents and children who need a safe haven and nutritious meals. Our resources are stretched, but God will provide! We are in this for the duration. If the families need us, we will be here.”
The Salvation Army’s Boys and Girls Clubs in Lawton, Oklahoma City and Shawnee have also opened their doors to students who need a place to stay and nutritious meals and snacks. Shawnee is providing breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks and is available to current members of the Boys and Girls Club as well as non-members. Oklahoma City and Lawton are also providing alternative options for students during the day as well as meals and snacks.
In some areas, such as Bartlesville and Enid, The Salvation Army is utilizing Emergency Disaster Services resources. Canteens (mobile feeding units) are providing lunch to students affected by the walkout at pre-determined sites.