Shawnee children have several places to get free meals this summer.

Hunger Free Oklahoma and Code for Tulsa recently launched an online map to help Oklahoma families locate free summer meal programs at no cost.

“Last year, we increased the number of summer meals served by 14 percent over the year before. With this new mapping tool, even more families will have consistent access to summer meals at the click of a mouse or the tap of a finger,” said Oklahoma State Department of Education’s State Superintendent, Joy Hofmeister.

The Summer Food Service Program branded ‘Food 4 Thought OK’ is a USDA program administered by the Oklahoma State Department of Education. It works to combat childhood hunger by partnering with school districts,local nonprofits and faith-based organizations to provide meals at no cost to kids 18 years old and younger.

“One in five children in our state experiences hunger,”said Oklahoma State Department of Education’s State Superintendent, Joy Hofmeister, “The Summer Food Service Program connects kids 18 and under with no-cost meals, no questions asked. Last year, we increased the number of summer meals served by 14 percent over the year before. With this new mapping tool, even more families will have consistent access to summer meals at the click of a mouse or the tap of a finger. With ample research indicating that proper nutrition has a strong and positive impact on academic outcomes, it is critical that students have access to healthy meals in the summer months so they can return to school ready to learn in the fall.”

Shawnee area schools/organizations offering free meals:

Shawnee High School – breakfast, lunch, snacks

Shawnee Early Childhood – breakfast, lunch

Shawnee YMCA – lunch, snacks

Shawnee Middle School – breakfast, lunch

Will Rogers Elementary – breakfast, lunch, snacks

Sequoyah Elementary – breakfast, lunch, snacks

Shawnee Public Schools Building – breakfast, lunch

Horace Mann Elementary – breakfast, lunch

Community Market – lunch, snacks

Pleasant Grove – lunch

Boys and Girls Club – snacks

Other area schools/organizations offering free meals:

Tecumseh Public Library – lunch

Macomb Elementary School – breakfast, lunch

McLoud Elementary School – breakfast, lunch

According to www.Meals4KidsOk.org, research shows that kids who suffer from food insecurity are more likely to have behavioral and attention problems, score lower on math, reading, and science tests, and be at a higher risk for obesity and chronic illnesses.

Along with providing the location and details of Oklahoma's summer meal sites, the map contains the following key features:

-Accessible by any internet capable device. Because it is a web address, families will have

more than one way to access the map.

-Geolocation. This feature identifies the user’s location in real-time so that families do not

have to manually enter a zip code. It also prompts directions from the current location to

the summer meals site selected.

-Updates throughout the entire summer. As changes to summer meal sites become

available, Hunger Free Oklahoma and the Oklahoma State Department of Education will be

updating the map to ensure that families have the most up-to-date information offered.

Research shows that kids who suffer from food insecurity are more likely to have behavioral and attention problems, score lower on math, reading, and science tests, and be at a higher risk for obesity and chronic illnesses. While school is out, the Summer Food Service Program is designed to reduce these risks by ensuring children have access to meals and this new map will improve accessibility.

The summer meals map website is included on all state department branded outreach materials used at participating summer meal sites.

For more information or to see what schools and organizations offer free meals in a specific area visit www.Meals4KidsOK.org.