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Summer feeding sites helping some children who are facing extreme heat as well as hunger

The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma works with several partners in Oklahoma City to provide public summer feeding sites for children.
by Bryan Painter Published: July 22, 2011

Cool air flows from six vents as the little boy sinks his teeth into a peach. The juice drips onto his peach fuzz-covered face.

The little girl with flowers on her shirt and hair in braids nibbles at one end of a sub sandwich.

And Valerie Sherrer, founder of Novo Ministries, watches and smiles, her heart warmer than the triple-digit temperatures the children have escaped on a recent day by gathering in the Ambassador Courts Community Center, 800 SE 15.

The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma works with several partners in Oklahoma City to provide public summer feeding sites for children.

Those partners include Novo Ministries, whose staff oversees the program for children under age 18 at two locations, and assists at a third community center.

While any child can come for the meals, those attending are often from low-income families.

And while the main issue is often hunger, the heat wave has added to the importance of the sites.

On Thursday, Oklahoma City reached triple digits for the 29th time this year, continuing to close in on the record of 50 days at 100 degrees or higher in 1980.

Children can come for the meal and either leave right after or stay for a program provided by employees of Novo Ministries.

An added blessing

“I definitely think the heat has made the summer feeding program even more important,” Sherrer said. “That's simply because although some people have access to air conditioning, others don't have access to air conditioning or even fans.”

In 2004, Sherrer asked to start faith-based, after-school and summer programs at some of the Oklahoma City Housing Authority's community centers. Novo Ministries has facilitated weekly Novo Bible Club programs at 17 sites throughout the metro. Last year, the nonprofit also became involved in the summer feeding program at Oak Grove Housing Development.

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by Bryan Painter
Assistant Local Editor
Bryan Painter, assistant local editor, has 31 years’ experience in journalism, including 22 years with the state's largest newspaper, The Oklahoman. In that time he has covered such events as the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah...
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