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Archive for the ‘Tulsa’ Category

It’s time to once again cover Feeding America’s annual Map the Meal Gap report. Feeding American, of course, is a network of over 200 food banks. They help their partners distribute 3 billion pounds of food every year.

Their annual Map the Meal Gap report examines local food insecurity trends and this year’s report reflects data from 2012. This report helps local food programs measure food insecurity within their communities, providing information on the local level and including data on every county in the U.S.

map the meal gap 2Their estimates show the food insecurity rate in the U.S. is 15.9%, down from 16.4% in last year’s report. This means 48,966,000 Americans lack the resources to consistently afford enough nutritious food to live active, healthy lives.

The report also highlights children’s hunger by measuring the child food insecurity rate, which is currently at 21.6%. The 2012 child food insecurity rate is also lower than in 2013, which was 22.4%, but still includes 15,898,999 children living with food insecurity.

For Oklahoma, Map the Meal Gap estimates food insecurity rates have remained virtually the same since last year’s report, coming in at 17.2% of the state population. This means (more…)

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The Minimum Wage has been in the news quite a bit lately. Many are urging both states and the federal government to raise the wage, which has been set at $7.25 on a national level since 2009.

There also is something called the “housing wage,” which is determined by calculating the hourly rate a full-time worker needs to earn in order to pay only the recommended 30% of his or her income towards rent. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, the housing wage in Tulsa County is currently $14.21 for a 2 bedroom apartment at fair market rent. So, in other words, for a household to afford rent on a 2 bedroom apartment, 2 people would need to be working full-time for at least minimum wage.

The annual income needed to keep housing costs affordable has increased $720 from 2013 to 2014. This increase means a family earning just enough to comfortably afford rent on a 2 bedroom unit in 2013 would need a 2.4% pay raise just to keep up with the rise in housing costs in Tulsa.

housing wage

Stepping back to look at Oklahoma as a whole, (more…)

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President Reagan first designated April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month in 1983. Since then, organizations around the country have commemorated the month with activities and events. Here in Tulsa, members of the Parent Child Center Youth Council (PCCYC) placed 1,658 pinwheels at the Parent Child Center campus to represent each substantiated case of child abuse in Tulsa County in 2013.child abuse prevention ribbon

Nationwide, an estimated 3.8 million allegations of child abuse or neglect were responded to by child protective service workers in 2012. An estimated 686,000 children were confirmed victims of child maltreatment.

Most states recognize four major types of child maltreatment: Neglect; Physical Abuse; (more…)

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The 2014 Tax Season will soon be in full swing.  This year there have been changes to CAP Tulsa’s Tax program, and we wanted raise awareness so Tulsans can easily find volunteer tax sites and other resources.

Beginning with the 2014 tax preparation season, CAP Tulsa will no longer offer free tax preparation publicly to Tulsa families. The CAP Tax service will only be available to families participating in other CAP Tulsa services, including its early childhood education program and those who live in the Eugene Field and Kendall Whittier Neighborhoods in conjunction with our Neighborhood Revitalization initiative.211 postit

The Tulsa Area United Way has been working with CAP Tulsa to garner interest from other Tulsa agencies, with the long-term goal of building a coalition in Tulsa to continue offering this vital service.

For the 2013 filing season, the United Way has been successful in locating agencies to host tax sites open to the public. Anyone seeking assistance for free tax preparation in 2014 can call the Tulsa Area United Way helpline at 2-1-1 or visit http://www.211oklahomahelpline.org/to find tax websites or options near you.

Anyone who is interested in filing their own tax return online can do so by visiting (more…)

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Before it’s too late, I’d like to talk about National Farmers Market Week 2013, which began on August 4th and ends August 10th. Farmers markets provide a local source for fresh, nutritious food, encourage local businesses and give communities a gathering place. Pearl Farmes MarketThis is what the Pearl Farmers Market, located in Centennial Park in Tulsa, does on Thursday evenings by hosting farmers, vendors and live music from 4 to 7 p.m.

The Cherry Street Farmers Market is another well-known market in Tulsa. They operate in two locations, Cherry Street on Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., and on Brookside on Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. And if you can’t make it to the Pearl or Cherry Street markets, have no fear. There are plenty of other farmers markets in the area, as the Tulsa World reported on in April. The USDA also has a directory where people can search for local farmers markets all over the U.S.

Like a growing number of farmers markets, the Cherry Street Farmers Market accepts SNAP benefits. As part of their efforts to promote access to nutritious food, the USDA funded efforts to equip markets across the country with the wireless equipment necessary to take the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card used by SNAP recipients.

While not all farmers markets are equipped to take EBT payments,  (more…)

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It’s November and time to think about what we will make for that important meal.  And for some families in Tulsa, we’re not just talking about the highly anticipated Thanksgiving Feast.  Set the Table Tulsa is challenging local families to sit down at the dinner table four times a week, every week, all month long.  In a busy and overly connected world, it seems like a radical idea: family bonding, without the television, the computer or the cell phone as the center of our attention.  However, when we are able to incorporate this simple form of family time into our routines, it should be a cause of ongoing thanksgiving.

And let’s face it, if finding time for a sit down dinner was easy, it wouldn’t be such a rare event.  It comes down to time, a precious commodity in our busy world, and if we want to spend time wisely we need to budget it just like we do our money. Set the Table Tulsa has provided a space for participants to blog about their experiences as they change the way they view mealtime.

Vanesa Mares is one of the writers documenting how this experience is impacting her life.  She is already keeping up with a busy schedule, between caring for her children, one of whom is enrolled in CAP’s early childhood program, and developing her own skills through CAP’s CareerAdvance® program.  Yet she and her family are making the time to eat together.  In her posts she discusses her family’s process of setting a meal plan and trying to disconnect from the cell phone, which is something to which we can all relate.  Turning the phone to silent and setting it aside during dinner is one suggestion I am challenging myself to adopt after reading her posts, and I suspect I’ll be thankful for thirty minutes of peace and quiet. (more…)

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