Hunger Task Force Focuses on Younger Oklahomans

Article excerpt

Perception is a key reason for a lack of participation in the state's nutrition programs, members of the Oklahoma Task Force on Hunger were told on Tuesday. Traci Lundy, director of nutrition services for the Department of Health, said the Women, Infants and Children nutrition program had openings for participants but said image tended to be a significant issue for people in Oklahoma when it came to signing up.

The program, which had just under 100,000 participants in July, provides checks for eligible people to help supplement spending on certain grocery items.

Lundy said some WIC participants will go to stores outside of their immediate area, Lundy said, just to avoid running into people they know. She said others just won't sign up to avoid the stigma of relying on federal money to purchase groceries.

"If they're trying to get Frosted Flakes on WIC, they're not going to get it," Lundy said. The program is available for pregnant mothers, babies and infants up to 5 years old. Lundy said at that point, they become part of the school free and reduced meal program. …