Program helps homeless child have food
When a local fifth grader was sleeping behind a motel dumpster in the January cold, she didn’t have the resources to get herself food. She ate at school, then, thanks to a United Way funded program, took a bag of food back for the weekend.
She told the story to her teacher, and Agape Mission was just one of the agencies that combined to get her family the help they needed.
For families in crisis, the resources provided by United Way partner agencies are crucial to meet their immediate needs and help them build a better future. United Way fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in our community. Thirty-eight percent of United Way allocated funding goes to health programs in Washington, Osage and Nowata counties. These programs focus on mental and physical health, including preventative care such as providing exercise options and healthy food for senior citizens and children.
Childhood hunger is a problem both locally and nationally. 1 in 4 Oklahoma children is at risk of going to bed hungry, according to Feeding America's Map the Meal Gap 2011 Report. Researchers examining the role of food insecurity in cognitive outcomes found that food-insecure 6-11 year-olds scored lower than their food-secure peers on a measure of child intelligence and were more likely to have seen a child psychologist, according to a study by Children’s Health Watch. The same study also found that these children had a harder time getting along with others, were more likely to have repeated a grade, and had lower arithmetic and general achievement test scores than food-secure children in the same age group.
Agape Mission receives United Way funding to help meet that need locally. The Food 4 Kids program sends home sacks of food on the weekend to 600 Washington County children and 21 Osage County children who would be at risk of going hungry over the weekend.
“By making sure that no child goes hungry over the weekend, Agape Mission and United Way are partnering to give these children the nutritional foundation they need,” Marketing Manager Abigail Singrey said. “When children are well-fed, they can pay better attention in school and have fewer disciplinary issues, leading to less missed classroom time.”