Over 250,000 Oklahomans Fed- The Story of Food On The Move

June 5, 2020

“Where there is a need to be met, one should take action.”

36°N member, Kevin Harper, is the perfect fit for his role as Executive Director of Food on the Move (FOTM). Kevin’s story with FOTM began with a happen-stance meeting in 2017, when he ran into FOTM Founder, Taylor Hanson. After learning the mission behind the initiative, he quickly became a volunteer. Kevin faithfully volunteered with FOTM for two years before he was brought on as the nonprofit’s Executive Director. His story sings of humility and a desire to serve his community by meeting the needs of our state.

So, what is Food On The Move?

Food On The Move is an innovative mobile food initiative that has been working to end food deserts since 2014. This is accomplished through mobile food events and a long-term strategy to foster the return of permanent grocery stores and healthy food systems. Each monthly event unifies a diverse group of mobile partners in non-profit, for-profit and government, that help host ongoing pay-as-you-can events. These events provide fresh produce, prepared meals and access to community and health resources. Through monthly events, FOTM has served more than 53,000 individuals since 2014, in addition to the 200,000 individuals served throughout COVID-19 alone.

Taylor Hanson (Founder), Shar Carter (Founding Volunteer) and Kevin Harper.

The organization was founded with the mission to strengthen and seed greater community partnership, civic engagement and ambassadorship. This mission was inspired by former US Ambassador Edward J. Perkins who is among the most respected members of the US foreign service. Among his many achievements, Ambassador Perkins oversaw the end of South Africa’s Apartheid government and release of Nelson Mandela while serving as the US Ambassador to South Africa.

As Food On The Move pursues its mission to transform food deserts and combat food insecurity, it does so by staying true to its founding ideals and identity: To strengthen community by combating critical community challenges, through ambassadorship, leadership and partnership.

Since the COVID-19 epidemic hit, Food On The Move has been on the front lines providing people access to meals. FOTM partnered with The Tulsa Dream Center to host a grocery giveaway every Friday, along with serving all over North Tulsa and beyond. By the end of May, they had served over 200,000 people and will continue to serve people, in a greater capacity than normal, through the month of June, at minimum. Because of their partnership with Go Fresh and Bama Companies Food On The Move has added a number of new locations, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic- which will bring their list of locations to North Tulsa, Turley, East Tulsa, West Tulsa, North Owasso, South Bixby, Liberty Mounds, and South OKC, including a site for TPS teachers and staff.

“Bama Companies is a huge supporter of Food On The Move. Bama donated the money for the purchase of the land of  Food On The Move’a next phase, The Food Home.  Paula Marshall (CEO, Bama Companies) has a great passion to server others in our community, and desires to give people healthy options and good quality food,” says Kevin. “Because of her belief in Food On The Move and the work Taylor has been doing, Paula agreed to hire me as a Bama Team Member and assign me to Food On The Move.  I am proud to say that I am Bama Team Member, and I am thankful for the support Bama Companies gives to Food On The Move.  It’s partners like Bama Companies and Go Fresh that allow us to make the impact we are able to make.”

Food On The Move’s key partners include Bama Companies, Go Fresh Produce, Community Food Bank, The Tulsa Health Department, and TCC.  For a detailed list of their wonderful community partners, visit www.foodonthemoveok.com

Click on the news stories below to see what Food On The Move has been up to!

Tell us about yourself, Kevin!

One of my favorite sayings is, ‘Lead, follow, or get out of the way!’ I am an extremely passionate person and I am driven to make a difference.  One of my goals in life is to leave this world a better place.  Where there is a need to be met, I feel one should take action!

I was born and raised in Owasso, OK, graduated from High School in 1994. I received an undergraduate degree from a small, private college and then received a Master’s in Human Relations and Organizational Development from the University of Oklahoma. I consider myself a life learner and I am always looking for ways to grow and improve. However, my pride and joy are my two girls Peyton (14) and Morgan (11)! I love being a dad and spending time with my girls. I am very thankful both of my girls have a heart to serve and love volunteering with me at Food On The Move events.

I have always loved people and have a passion for helping people step into their gifts and abilities.  This passion is what drives me to work in the nonprofit world.  I have served in the nonprofit world for most of my adult career.  I have been fortunate to be the part of several great projects around the world.  One project that is closest to my heart is a project I lead in a small town in Morocco, Africa.  I was able to formulate a team to create an outdoor sports/playground area for kids and teens, make significant improvements and gather much needed supplies for a women’s shelter and perform the groundwork to select locations for water wells.

Upon returning to Tulsa in 2014,  I worked at First Bank of Owasso until I transitioned to A New Leaf.  I was very fortunate to be the Director of Marketing and Business Development at A New Leaf.  It is a wonderful organization with an incredible mission.  I loved working with the A New Leaf team and will always be thankful for my time there.  Under the leadership at A New Leaf, I was able to learn and grow in many ways. It was my time at A New Leaf and lessons I learned from the CEO, Mary Ogle, that prepared me for my current position.

Why 36 Degrees North?

According to Kevin- it’s simple. “36 Degrees North is a logical place to office from. I am in the heart of downtown, have access to great conference rooms, an awesome work environment and the diverse networking opportunities are incredible.”

We are  honored to have members like Kevin and the Food On The Move team, who are filling the gaps in our community.                

Learn more about Food On The Move or sign up to volunteer here!