Little Rock School District Gears Up to Serve Summer Meals

It’s almost spring break and summer will be here in no time.  Summer fun in Little Rock means outdoor movies in the River Market, cooling off in the splash pads, and hiking or fishing in the natural state.  But summer brings new challenges for educators and others focused on hunger relief, because students lose access to school-provided food that may be crucial to their daily nutrition.  Little Rock School District is working to make sure that students who receive breakfast and lunch during the school year have access to those meals throughout the summer. 

Stephanie Walker Hynes is Little Rock School District’s Director of Child Nutrition. “To ensure students won’t lose access to needed meals during the summer months, Little Rock School District will open its doors in June and July for kids and teens 18 and under to drop in for breakfast and lunch at no charge” Hines said.

Instead of just serving meals in schools, the district is partnering with local organizations to serve meals in locations across Little Rock.  Some Little Rock families do not have access to transportation during the summer when school buses don’t run, so outreach will bring the meals for youth to sites within walking distance.

The Be Mighty Little Rock campaign is working with churches, non-profits, and community organizations to encourage them to open their doors this summer and serve meals to kids.  If your organization is new to the summer meal program, you can easily work with an existing partner such as the Little Rock School District.    

Grilled Chicken Salad, BlueRaspberry-lemon SideKicks, and Milk

How meal service will work for participating partners:

The school district will cook and package meals onsite at a school kitchen.  Depending on how many students participate in your organization’s summer program, the district will transport an appropriate number of meals to your site (or someone from your organization may pick up the meals from a school kitchen identified by the district).  The district will provide training for any employees and volunteers working with the program. 

“We know that far too often, the only meals some children will get are those provided by the school system,” said Kathy Webb, Executive Director of the Hunger Relief Alliance. “Be Mighty Little Rock focuses on connecting children to meals year-round because no child should be hungry.”

Be Mighty appreciates the willingness of the LRSD to help by using their resources to expand summer meals for kids and teens in Little Rock!  We are stronger together.  With the help of local partners, our goal is to make sure every student has a place they can go for breakfast or lunch during the summer.

Chicken, greenbeans, corn, orange, and milk

Organizations interested in partnering with the Little Rock School District to provide free summer meals for kids and teens 18 years and younger should contact the Child Nutrition Office at 501-447-2458.   The deadline to become a district-sponsored summer meal site is May 3rd. In May we will provide more details about sites and serving times.

Sponsor Spotlight: The Eco Kidz Project

Be Mighty is a campaign that connects kids and teens to meals. This week we are featuring U.S. Department of Agriculture summer meal sponsors.

Pamela Hill is the Director of the Eco Kidz Project which started in June of 2012. After Pam moved back to Little Rock from Los Angeles she wanted to learn about what was going on in the community. She was a former daycare center owner and knew she wanted to continue serving in some capacity. One day when Pam noticed a homeless man with two children, she was inspired to make an impact on kids and families in Little Rock.

“The man was living in a run-down hotel off Geyer Springs Road,” said Pam. “In our conversation, he revealed there were also other kids living in the hotel.”

Pam’s interaction with this man motivated her to learn more about food insecurity in Little Rock. Pam realized there were many kids in Little Rock without enough food to live an active, healthy life. She also learned that USDA would reimburse organizations serving meals to kids. With these two discoveries, Pam began the concept for what is now the Eco Kidz Project. Seven years later the organization serves over 1,000 meals each day to kids and teens across Little Rock. Pam says the kids get really excited about Barbeque Chicken day.

Eco Kidz staff prepare meals to be delivered to meal sites across Little Rock.

“I was at the Salvation Army when an employee approached me to thank me for what I did for him and his kids,” said Pam. “He was the man that inspired me to start the Eco Kidz Project. His kids were in school and he was working.” Pam’s face was beaming as she shared the story of crossing paths with the man that inspired her to start this project so many years ago.

The Eco Kidz Project is planning to have about 25 sites serving breakfast and lunch this summer. They have the capacity to take on two new sites. Organizations interested in becoming a meal site with the Eco Kidz Project should contact Pamela at 501-246-3197. Pam likes to meet the individuals and learn about their goals to make sure they are a good fit for the organization. After meeting and touring the new site to make sure it is a safe environment for kids and staff then the organizations enter an agreement. Eco Kidz wants to make sure the site has adequate space for the number of kids they anticipate serving. Organizations interested in becoming a site with the Eco Kidz Project should take action now. Arkansas Department of Human Services requests all information from sponsors by April 30th.

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 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.

Let’s PLAY, Little Rock!



Be Mighty’s tagline, “Eat. Play. Learn.” is a call to action for parents, students, teachers, and the greater Little Rock community.  Play is one of the main ingredients needed for Little Rock to Be Mighty.  Little Rock prospers when we have an active and healthy youth population. Last week we shared information about where to eat when schools close for winter break.  This week we are challenging youth to stay active throughout the holidays.  Let’s move Little Rock.

Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore, it can be fun! Take part in your favorite activity.  Learn a new hobby or share one of your talents with a friend or younger sibling.  We are calling youth and their families to participate, be involved, compete, and Be Mighty.

Here are a few ideas for how to get moving in Little Rock.

  • Play a game
  • Take a brisk walk or hike
  • Play a sport (basketball, volleyball, soccer, etc.)
  • Visit a park
  • Go for an indoor swim
  • Go for a jog or run
  • Do yard work
  • Complete a home workout
  • Dance
  • Do active housework like vacuuming or sweeping
  • Go mall walking, bowling, or roller skating.
  • Practice yoga or other fun group classes
  • Take the stairs
  • Pick up litter

Focus on having fun! Ready, set, go!  Let’s Play, Little Rock!

Be Mighty wants to hear from you.  How do you PLAY in Little Rock?  Where do you PLAY in Little Rock?  How does playing make you Mighty? Tag Be Mighty Little Rock for a chance to win a $25 gift card to the Dust Bowl. Be creative. Winners will be announced January 2nd at 1 p.m.

Aquí es Donde los Niños Pueden Comer Durante las Vacaciones del Invierno


Durante el descanso de escuela del invierno, mientras muchas familias preparan una cena y regalos para compartir, unas familias preocupen de que no tendrán suficiente comida para su familia. Las escuelas de Little Rock cierran por dos semanas para las vacaciones de invierno. Muchos niños de la comunidad cuentan con el desayuno y almuerzo en la escuela. Be Mighty Little Rock desea ayudar a los padres y cuidadores tomar conciencia de las varias ubicaciones dentro de Little Rock con actividades divertidas y comida para ninos de edad 18 y menos.

Los 20-21, 26-28, 31 de diciembre y 2do de enero las siguiente ubicaciones ofrecen el almuerzo desde las 11:30 de la mañana hasta las 1:30 de la tarde:

  • Asbury Park Apartments localizado en 8500 Keller Dr.
  • Colonial Parc localizado en 5813 Baseline Rd.
  • Oley Rooker Library localizado en 11 Otter Creek Ct.
  • Spanish Jon localizado en 5001 W. 65th St.
  • Spring Valley localizado en 8701 Interstate 30
  • Whispering Hills localizado en 11500 Chicot Rd.

Los 20-21, 26-28 de diciembre y 2do de enero las siguiente ubicaciones ofrecen las siguientes bibliotecas ofrecen comidas y actividades por la tarde:

  • Williams Library
    • 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m.
  • Fletcher Library
    • 2:30 p.m. a 3:30 p.m.
  • Sidney S. McMath Library
    • 3:30 p.m. a 4:30 p.m.
  • Main Library
    • 3:45 p.m. a 4:45 p.m.
  • Children’s Library and Learning Center
    • 4:00 p.m. a 4:45 p.m.
  • Dee Brown Library
    • 4:00 p.m. a 4:30 p.m.

Los sábados del 21 y 29 de diciembre las siguiente ubicaciones ofrecen comidas y actividades por la tarde:

  • Children’s Library and Learning Center
    • 2:00 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.
  • Main Library
    • 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • Williams Library
    • 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Abajo está una mapa de las varias ubicaciones que ofrecen actividades y comidas para niños de edades 18 y menos. Para más información por favor envíe un correo electrónico a Kay Kay en

Here is Where to Eat when Schools Close for Winter Break


While many families prepare to share a meal and exchange gifts over the winter vacation, some families worry that they will not have enough food to put on the table.   Schools in Little Rock close for a two week winter vacation and many kids in our community rely on free breakfast and lunch at school.  Be Mighty Little Rock wants to help parents and caregivers become aware of the different locations around Little Rock with fun activities and food for youth ages 18 and under.

On December 20-21, 26-28, and January 2nd the following locations offer lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

  • Asbury Park Apartments located at 8500 Keller Dr.
  • Colonial Parc located at 5813 Baseline Rd.
  • Oley Rooker Library located at 11 Otter Creek Ct.
  • Spanish Jon located at 5001 W. 65th St.
  • Spring Valley located at 8701 Interstate 30
  • Whispering Hills located at 11500 Chicot Rd.

On December 20-21, 26-28, 31, and January 2nd the following libraries offer afternoon meals and activities:

  • Williams Library
    • 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m.
  • Fletcher Library 
    • 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • Sidney S. McMath Library
    • 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Main Library
    • 3:45 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.
  • Children’s Library and Learning Center 
    • 4:00 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.
  • Dee Brown Library
    • 4:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

On Saturdays, December 21st and December 29th the following locations offer fun activities and meals:

  • Children’s Library and Learning Center 
    • 2:00 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.
  • Main Library 
    • 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • Williams Library
    • 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Here’s a map of the various sites listed above. For more information please email Kay Kay at  A big thank you to F.E.E.D. First USA (lunch) and  Equal Heart (afternoon) for sponsoring these USDA meal programs.