When schools close for the summer, children struggle to find food to replace breakfast and lunch they were receiving at school every day. Over 60% of children in Arkansas rely on free and reduced lunches, meaning when summer comes, they are struggling to fill the gaps that those meals provided. The Arkansas Foodbank is here to help them over the summer when school is out to make sure they are getting the nutritious food they need.
When schools closed in early March, leaving many kids without meals unexpectedly, the Foodbank immediately began partnering with school districts in our communities to get meals to children and their families. We then continued on with our planned summer feeding sites, but with updated precautions to ensure the safety of volunteers and children.
We’re happy to announce that this summer, so far, we have served 2,844 breakfasts and 4,121 lunches, for a total of 6,965 meals. We had 11 feeding sites in Cleburne, Desha, Phillips and Ashley County. As our sites wrap up this week, we project we’ll then have served over 9,500 meals to kids in our communities.
Our partners quickly adapted to our new COVID procedures to make sure children had access to the food they needed, safely. Meals were packed in grab-and-go containers to limit contact, and we also had some partners that set up mobile sites in different neighborhoods in their community to guarantee that kids could easily get the meals.
We’d also like to announce that this year, The Boys and Girls Club of Ashley County in Crossett, AR has been selected as the “Summer Feeding Site of The Year”! Through their hard work and dedication, while following USDA issued COVID-19 waivers and precautions to ensure safety was the top priority, they successfully prepared and served 2,454 meals to children in their community this summer. Though the many challenges of running an organization and following government mandates, Lindsey and her team exceeded program communication and compliance standards. Let’s give the wonderful staff and volunteers at Boys and Girls Club of Ashley County a huge congratulations for a job well done!
If you’d like to learn more about our Food For Kids Program and what we do year-round to feed children in our 33-county service area, click here.