The Norman Transcript

June 14, 2013

Sparrow House offers free summer meals to children, groceries for elderly

By Arianna Pickard
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — A local nonprofit organization is opening its doors this summer to feed children dependent on free or reduced priced school meals.

The Sparrow House, a faith-based nonprofit organization found behind Cavalry Chapel Church at 1401 W Boyd St., is now a location for the Summer Feeding Program, offering free lunches to children from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday until the end of July.

The program provides food to school-aged children who qualify for free or reduced school meals while they’re in school but no longer get those meals during the summer, said Ron Banks, supervisor and founder of the Sparrow House.

“They get accustomed to having that lunch every day and then it’s suddenly gone, so that’s what this is mainly to fill,” Banks said.

At the Sparrow House, children can get a free meal as well as a snack and an opportunity to play and socialize with other kids and young volunteers, said Banks’ wife Elizabeth.

“Not only do they want something to eat, but they also want some place to send their children where they can play with each other,” she said.

Ron said he hopes to eventually make the Sparrow House a food pantry open to the public every day of the week, but for now, in addition to the Summer Feeding Program, they are using it to offer food to elderly people in low-income housing in Norman.

About once a month he and Elizabeth plan to take prepackaged food and fresh produce to the homes of elderly people living in low-income housing in Norman, he said. They hope to make it easier for people who might not be as capable of leaving their homes to get food.

“I think this is great for people who are elderly or handicapped, or even single moms that work during the week,” Elizabeth said.

She said one of the major complaints at food pantries where she’s worked before was that people had to take off a day of work just to be able to go to the pantry and get food.

“So we’re just seeking ways to make it easier for people,” she said.