FOod on the move

Ramal Brown, Food on the Move community ambassador, and Executive Director Kevin Harper at an October community food and resource festival

From March 2020 to May 2021, 4.5 million pounds of food exchanged hands via Food on the Move’s large-scale drive-through giveaways for Tulsans experiencing food insecurity.

“We followed all health department protocols, but we made it fun,” Executive Director Kevin Harper says, describing local DJs, physical fitness and therapy professionals, and food trucks at community food and resource festivals. 

When pandemic precautions scaled back, FOTM looked back to its “original model created in 2014 to serve the community in a holistic way,” he says. 

Community Ambassador Ramal Brown explains the model is a distribution hub where folks can gather around food and information. Local partners are focused on substance abuse services, financial advising and education.

“We’ve worked intentionally to pool all our partners together and offer sustainable community services over time,” Brown says. 

After registering with contact information and family size, participants leave with a 25-pound bag of fresh produce and a hot meal for each family member present, Harper says. Food trucks and activities selected for each block party location change regularly. All FOTM festivals have a pay-as-you-can model, allowing anyone to participate and support the initiative.

FOTM began in 2014 when founder Taylor Hanson wanted to address food insecurity in Tulsa, inspired by advice from one of his mentors, former U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Edward Perkins: Start with food. It is the great equalizer.

With that, Hanson began Food on the Move in Tulsa with a mission to transform food deserts and the issues created by living in a food-insecure area.

FOTM has been mobile by design and was entirely volunteer driven from 2014 until November 2019, when Harper joined. Now the volunteer roster includes 300  people who serve anywhere from every quarter to weekly.

“We always need more (volunteers), especially since, for at least the next year, we are overseeing the feeding of our 800 Afghan refugees to Tulsa,” Harper says. Both Harper and Brown are former volunteers. 

Volunteers and local partners interested in participating can email info@foodonthemoveok.com.

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