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Ministry maintains focus on healthy eating habits

In treatment for ovarian cancer, a metro-area woman seeking healthy food alternatives connected with a local ministry through a cooking class.

Now Vernelia McKnight not only sings the praises of the ministry called A Table in the Wilderness, she is helping to teach some of the organization’s classes.

“To be truthful, I feel it was a godsend to me,” McKnight said of the nonprofit. “Anytime, they’re having something, I want people to know about it.”

A Table in the Wilderness, with McKnight on board, will start the new year by expanding its efforts to help Oklahomans eat healthier. This year, a new plant-based food pantry, one of the ministry’s biggest projects, will come to fruition. Laurel Mauldin, the organization’s chief executive officer and president, said the ministry is partnering with Feed the Children to help stock the pantry. 

The organization was started several years ago by Mauldin and her father, Lamar Mauldin. The father-daughter duo initially focused their programs on eastern Oklahoma County, which includes northeast Oklahoma City. Northeast Oklahoma City, up until the opening of a new Homeland store in 2020, was considered a food desert because of lack of grocery stores and healthy food options.

The Choctaw pair said their goal is to promote healthy eating because it helps prevent and or mitigate the impact of diseases like diabetes or hypertension.