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Meal Operations for the Homeless

Shawnee, Oklahoma, December 22, 2022 – At this time of year, when temperatures fall and holidays are close, many turn their thoughts toward helping those in need. Most organizations and individuals focus their efforts on feeding those who are experiencing homelessness. The homeless community can best be served through a community-wide coordinated approach.

Since the association between homelessness and food is so strong, homeless individuals often end up with more food than they can eat.  Uncoordinated meals can be overwhelming, and unfortunately, they result in wasted food and increased trash.  

Why is coordination of meal operations for the homeless important?

  • Coordinating meals reduces duplication.
  • Coordinating meals helps stretch our resources farther and decreases waste.
  • Coordinating meals helps those in need to know when and where to get food.
  • Providing meals at predetermined locations links people with needed resources, because the root problem is a lack of housing.
While we all share the same spaces, some locations are specifically set aside for certain activities. Parks, sidewalks, and the public library were not designed for providing meals to the homeless. Organizations have come to feed there, which in some cases left these sites with trash and leftovers strewn about. Not having a place for the homeless to use the bathroom may also lead to the impromptu use of those public spaces. Alternatively, coordinating meal operations can make downtown a place that all people, housed and unhoused, can enjoy.

Please know that the homeless living on the street need more than food. Coordinating meal operations can help them get to proper facilities, so that their journey out of homelessness can begin. Not every person without a home is hungry, but every single one is without shelter. 

The City of Shawnee is requesting that those groups interested in offering meals to the homeless contact Homeless Program Coordinator Erika Genty to help fill the meal schedule. By serving meals consistently at the Homeless Resource Center (HRC), located at 506 S. Beard Ave., people will know where to go if they are hungry. The meals can be coordinated to reduce duplication and waste, and bathrooms are available. The hope is that by coming to the HRC, those in need will connect with the other services that are available to them at that facility. 

For more information or to schedule a meal, contact Erika Genty, Homeless Program Coordinator at 405-878-1543 or