Back to school will look very different this year. As schools are making tough decisions on what classroom learning will look like, the Arkansas Foodbank is committed to feeding kids, no matter what. Regardless of when kids go back to school, and regardless of how—whether virtual or in person, the Arkansas Foodbank will make sure they have the most important school supply – food.
COVID-19 has turned the lives of so many upside down, children who rely on school for much more than just their education have faced fear and uncertainty for many months. Going to school is their safe haven. A place they know they will be fed and cared for, a place where they don’t have to worry about bare cabinets, empty refrigerators or the growing hunger pains in their stomachs. Did you know that one in four children in Arkansas struggle with hunger and over 60% of children receive free or reduced lunches? Children in our communities rely on these meals, and the food provided by the Foodbank for out of school feeding, to give them the nutrition they need so they can learn, grow and thrive.
When schools announced their closures in the spring, the Foodbank leapt into action, partnering with school districts to ensure that these children and families had access to the food they needed. In addition, all summer long, we’ve continued to get food into the hands of children and families through our summer feeding sites and school partners.
As we’re looking to the start of school, we know that we’re going to have to adapt our normal Food For Kids programming to make certain we’re getting food to kids and meeting them where they are during this uncertain time.
Here is our commitment.
We will continue our Backpack Program.
We will continue to send Backpacks full of nutritious food to our partner schools this fall. If school becomes virtual, we will continue to send backpacks to schools or work with schools to find the best possible way to ensure these children have access to the food they need.
We will issue emergency boxes, as needed.
When COVID-19 forced schools to close their doors in March, we began to work with school districts packing and distributing emergency food boxes through mobile food distributions. Should school become virtual, we will stand ready to begin our emergency food box distributions once again.
We will continue our school pantry program.
School Pantries are readily accessible sources of food assistance for low-income children aged 0-18 and their families. School pantries operate much like other our food pantries, with the exception that the pantry only serves school children and their families. We have committed to providing additional food and support to school pantries as they have seen — and continue to see — an increase in those in need.
We know that children need food to learn, to play and to grow. We will make sure they have the food they need, no matter what. If you’d like to help us please donate below. Every $1 donated helps us provide food for 5 meals. You can make a huge difference in the life of a child today.