OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Food pantries, non-profits and religious organizations work tirelessly to help feed Oklahomans in need. Now, help is available for them and their vital missions.

COVID-19 left a lasting impact on everyone and everything, but now the Oklahoma Department of Human Services has millions of dollars in grant money these nonprofits can apply for to keep them up and running.

Food insecurity impacts about 500,000 Oklahomans. Nearly 200,000 of them are children.

The Oklahoma Department of Human Services aims at helping each and every one in need.

“What your viewers are probably most familiar with is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which is also called SNAP,” said Deputy Director Austin Marshall. “We serve about 850,000 Oklahomans through that.”

However, Marshall says they can’t feed everyone alone.

They rely on nonprofits like food pantries and faith-based organizations who feed those in need – but many of those organizations were hit hard by COVID-19.

That’s why the legislature recently approved $12.5 million in grant money from American Rescue Plan Act and State and Local Fiscal Recovery funds to expand these groups’ capacities to reach more Oklahomans.

“So these funds could be used for a variety of different things,” said Marshall. “If you need to purchase some shelving to increase storage at your food pantry. If you need to purchase a vehicle to help you with the storage and the distribution of food to folks in your community.”

Marshall says the agency hopes to get this money to the organizations in need – to keep their vital missions going.

“The work that this agency does cannot be done without our partners in the nonprofit and the faith-based community,” he told News 4. 

Applicants must complete a grant interest form by October 6.

If your organization would like to learn more or apply, click here