LITTLE ROCK, AR - Children out of classes for the summer break who count on school breakfast and lunch can still get those meals thanks to the Arkansas Summer Food Service Program.
It's a partnership that includes the Arkansas Department of Human Service's Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education-Health and Nutrition unit, the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, Share Our Strength, and the USDA.
First Lady Ginger Beebe joined representatives from those groups as well as community leaders at this morning's kickoff of the summer meals program at the Arkansas Dream Center in Little Rock.
For many kids, summertime means food, friends and fun. For families who count on school breakfast and lunch, however, the summer months can be stressful with food budgets being stretched even further than usual.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers free summer meals to children ages 18 and younger who come to a summer meals site. Share Our Strength's Center for Best Practices reports that in Arkansas, only 13.8 percent of children who receive a free or reduced-price lunch participated in free summer meal programs in 2012. That means many Arkansas children may be at higher risk of food insecurity during the months when school is not in session.
Families may call 1-866-3-HUNGRY, 1-877-8-HAMBRE, click here or text "FoodAR" to 877-877 to find a site near them.
Tonight at 7:00 at the Market Place Cinema off Rodney Parham on Merrill Drive, the Arkansas organizations host a free special screening of A Place at the Table. It's an acclaimed documentary film focusing on hunger through the eyes of three people from different parts of our country who are unsure where their next meals will come from. A Q&A discussion of hunger in Arkansas follows the screening. (This is a free event but seating is limited to the first 200 people. You must RSVP by email with subject line: TABLE to Nancy Conley at firstname.lastname@example.org.