Summer Cafe Keeping Tulsa Children Full For The Season

Friday, June 12th 2015, 6:38 pm
By: News On 6

School is out and for many kids that means fun at the pool, backyard cookouts and trips to the lake; for other, however, it means going hungry.

But to help, the Summer Café has meals packed up at the food bank and ready to distribute to 12 locations across town.

Whether it's at churches, apartment complexes or even parks, the goal is to get into the community and feed as many kids as they can.

"They're so thankful every single day when you bring them food. A lot of times they wait for us out here, and when they see the big truck they come up, and they welcome us at the door and help us bring in the food," said Emily Ritchie with the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma.

The Summer Café brings them meals five days a week, all summer long.

The program feeds kids who typically rely on a school provided lunch during the year. 80 percent of Tulsa Public Schools students rely on those meals and many times go without during breaks.

Ritchie has been handing out meals to kids for two summers in a row.

"It just kind of shows you a whole new realm of nutrition and the need for it in a child population," she said.

Lunch at the Sierra Point Apartments is just one of 12 locations across the city where workers and volunteers feed as many hungry mouths as they can reach.

The program also provides entertainment, games and positive interaction - something else the kids look forward to.

"We try to talk them into trying new things, and so we set up and environment that's fun," Ritchie said.

The meals provide the kids with a wheat, protein, fruit and vegetable, along with milk - key nutrients for growing and learning.

But there is still more work to do. Oklahoma sits at 51st out of all the state programs, including Washington D.C., in providing access to summer meals; a statistic Ritchie and her coworkers are trying to change one day at a time.

The program provides meals five days a week to the following 12 locations:

  • Country Club Garden Apartments at 11:30
  • A Third Place at 12:00
  • EduRec Family Center at 12:00
  • O'Brien Park at 12:15
  • Mabee Red Shield Boys & Girls Club at 11:30
  • South Tulsa Community House at 11:30
  • Sierra Pointe Apartments at 11:15
  • Church of the Resurrection at 12:15
  • Boys & Girls Club West Mabee at 11:30
  • Cornerstone Community Center at 11:30
  • Chandler Park at 11:30
  • Welcome Home Free Will Baptist Church at 11:30

For more information on the program, you can visit the Summer Café's website.