TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) — It was a celebration at Oasis as they became the first grocery store in Tulsa to launch the Double Up Oklahoma Program, which makes it more affordable to buy fresh fruits and foods.
“The Double Up program matches snap purchases up to $20 a day, with the benefit that's only good for fresh produce,” said Chris Bernard, executive director of Hunger Free Oklahoma. “So what it does is it incentivizes healthy choices, it helps stretch family's dollars, longer or farther, which especially at a time of inflation is really important.”
It’s a major goal for the fresh market that has become a cornerstone in north Tulsa.
“To launch the Double Up program as the first grocery store in Tulsa, but first black on grocery store in the state, man that's game changing for us,” said A.J. Johnson, owner of Oasis Fresh Market. “And really, it's about serving people and serving them well. And to be able to offer fresh produce and fresh vegetables for our community and communities alike in our future expansion.”
It’s also a goal for those in Oklahoma City. Governor Stitt and lawmakers are pushing for an end to the grocery sales tax in Oklahoma.
“We're one of only 13 states that taxes groceries, our neighbor to the south doesn't,” said Stitt. “So it's a regressive tax, I want to get rid of it. And so hopefully the legislature will, will do that.”
Councilwoman Vanessa Hall-Harper says those tax dollars need to come from somewhere the state could potentially eliminate taxes on necessities and raise taxes on things like alcohol or tobacco.
“I need to do some more research, but it's certainly something that I'm willing to consider,” said Harper. “Because it makes sense. And when we're talking about extending life and having quality options for food, that is certainly the priority. So it certainly makes sense.”
At Oasis, they say whether that happens or not they’ll be there to lift the health and wealth for their community.
“We're going to continue to do what we do best and that's find ways to serve people and whatever happens with the law, we will still do our best to bridge the gap because that's what Oasis is about is bridging the gap with our for profit grocery store and our nonprofit services,” said Johnson.