Feeding Kids

One in five Arkansas children face food insecurity, and in some rural counties, that rate is even higher. Children need nutritious food to grow and thrive, and they need it every day. Unfortunately, over 87,000 children in Central and South Arkansas are food-insecure, meaning they aren’t sure when or where they’ll receive their next meal.

The impact of childhood hunger is immediate and long-term. But with community-wide support and programs that seek to reach children—whether at home during the weekend, after school or through the summer—we can ensure children receive the food they need to grow and thrive as individuals, perform better in school and have improved emotional and physical development.

At Arkansas Foodbank, we use three strategies to create access to nutritious food for children experiencing hunger: backpacks, school pantries, and summer feeding sites.


The Backpack Program helps to provide food-insecure students with weekend meals that are easy to prepare, kid-friendly and nutritious. Arkansas Foodbank partners with 87 schools across our service area and distributes more than 100,000 backpacks each year.

School Pantries

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 food pantries, with the exception that the pantry only serves school children and their families. Sites are either located on a school’s campus or close-by, have set distribution schedules and offer ongoing food assistance services.

Summer Feeding Sites

The Arkansas Foodbank works with various school districts and organizations who wish to improve access to and participation in a Summer Feeding Program. In 2022, we provided funding to implement strategies to: improve the nutritional quality of meals, increase awareness of feeding programs to children and families, and reduce barriers to improve access to summer feeding programs to ultimately feed more children.

Community Initiatives Manager

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