What’s all the hype about summer meals?

Nearly 61 percent of students in Arkansas receive school lunch at no cost. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) partners with the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) to administer the Summer Food Service Program. The City of Little Rock is urging schools, local government agencies, camps, faith-based organizations, and other non-profits to participate in the Summer Food Service Program. Making summer meals a community-wide initiative will increase students access to quality meals throughout the summer.

Meal sites may be located in a variety of safe and supervised settings, including schools, parks, community centers, hospitals, clinics, churches, and camps. To get started, talk with your organization and determine if you have the capacity to serve meals this summer.

There are two options for organizations interested in serving meals. The first option is to become a meal site under an established sponsor. Contact the Be Mighty Project Coordinator at kderossette@cals.org or call 501-918-3016 to obtain a list of established sponsors. The second option is to apply to sponsor meals through DHS. Sponsors have the option to prepare meals on-site or have a vendor supply meals for the program. Organizations that decide to sponsor a meal program need to submit an application to DHS by April 30th. DHS works with applicants to introduce them to the program, explain requirements, and assist with the onboarding process.

DHS will host an application training on March 5th. The morning session is from 9:00 am to noon. The same information will be available again in the afternoon from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Additional training will take place on March 25th from 9:00 am to noon. Training takes place at 5401 S. University Ave. contact the Department of Human Services at 501-682-8869 to register.