One in four children in Arkansas struggles with hunger every day. That's why the Foodbank developed three strategies that create a seamless access to nutritious food for food-insecure children:
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.
AFTERSCHOOL SNACK AND MEAL PROGRAMS
Afterschool snack and meal programs operate in local nonprofit organizations and churches, and include child-centered activities. Many children come to these programs at the end of the school day, participate in tutoring programs and physical and creative activities and have a nutritious snack or meal. For many children in these programs, this is "supper," and will be the last food they have until breakfast at school the next morning.
Summer feeding provides crucial nutrition during the time school is not in session. If food-insecure children are not in school, where do they find food during the summer? The best answer is at a summer feeding site. Most sites provide breakfast, lunch and possibly a late-day meal. Many sites are "open," meaning the children do not have to be enrolled in a program (which they cannot afford); they can show up at meal time and be fed. Find a Summer Feeding Site.
Children need nutritious food to grow and thrive. And they need it every day. Unfortunately, nearly 200,000 Arkansas children are food-insecure, meaning they aren't sure when or where they will have a nutritious snack or meal. The impact of childhood hunger is immediate and long-term. Hungry children are sick more often and are more likely to be hospitalized than food-secure children. Hunger impairs physical and intellectual development. Hungry children have lower academic achievement than food-secure children, as well as more behavioral problems. Adults who were hungry as children are ill-prepared and less productive in the workforce. While hunger is very much a personal issue, it is also a community issue, because chronic hunger impacts the economy and quality of life in all communities.
Read more: Working Today to Feed Our Future