Summer Meal Service 101

A meal site is a place in the community where children receive meals in a safe and supervised environment. Sites may be in a variety of settings, including schools, libraries, parks, community centers, health clinics, hospitals, apartment complexes, churches, and migrant centers. Sites work directly with sponsors. The meal site is responsible for supervising the kids on site and providing enrichment activities after school, during the summer, or on weekends.

The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is a federally-funded, state-administered program. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reimburses providers who serve free healthy meals to children and teens in low-income areas during the summer months when school is not in session.

REturning Sponsors

For returning sponsors, the 2021 Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) Online Refresher Course is now available as an on-line only training on the Special Nutrition Program (SNP) website. Once you log into your account, click the link here for training instructions. The Department of Human Services is also hosting a SFSP Zoom Town Hall on Wednesday, March 3, 2021, from 4:30pm to 5:30pm. They are requesting that any questions you would like discussed during the town hall meeting to be submitted by on Friday, February 26, 2021 to Stephanie Clowers stephanie.clowers@dhs.arkansas.gov and/or Sharon Hagen Sharon.hagen@dhs.arkansas.gov These questions can be pertaining to your program in general or concerning FFY 2021 Summer Food Service Program. a  Click here to register for the Town Hall meeting.  

New Sponsors

For new sponsors, the Arkansas Department of Health is having a Food Safety Training on Wednesday, March 3, 2021 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. via zoom. This training is required in order to become a meal site sponsor. Click here to register.  

To Become a Site

If you would like more information about serving summer meals under an existing sponsor, contact our Project Coordinator Kay Kay DeRossette by e-mailing kderossette@cals.org or calling 501-918-3016.

Here is where to eat when schools are closed for Winter Break 2020

The holiday season is here and schools in Little Rock are closing for a two-week winter break! We are excited for students to recharge and spend quality time with their loved ones. However, many students in our community rely on free breakfast and lunch at school.  Be Mighty Little Rock wants share the holiday spirit of giving by informing parents and guardians of the different meal sites around Little Rock serving free food for kids ages 18 and under. After school meal services will resume on January 4, 2021.

On Monday December 21st-Wednesday December 23rd the following locations will serve meals:  

  • Autumn Parc Apartments located at 43 Warren Dr.
    •  Supper and Snack 1:10 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. 
  •  Colonial Parc Apartments located at 5813 Baseline Rd.  
    • Supper and Snack: 12:10 p.m. to 12:40 p.m. 
  • Feed First USA located at 6124 Baseline Rd. 
    • Supper and Snack: 11:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.  
  • Residence at Wakefield Apartments located at 6600 Lancaster Rd.  
    • Supper and Snack 12:35 p.m. to 12:55 p.m. 
  • Southern Pines Mobile Homes located at 9500 Heights Rd.  
    • Supper and Snack: 11:30 a.m. to 11:50 a.m. 
  •  Spanish Jon Apartments located at 5001 W. 65th Street  
    • Supper and Snack: 12:10 p.m. to 12:25 p.m. 
  •  Spanish Willow Apartments located at 7510 Geyer Springs Rd.  
    • Supper and Snack 11:30 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.  
  • Spring Valley Apartments located at 8701 I-30  
    • Supper and Snack: 12:00 p.m. to 12:25 p.m.  
  • Terra Vista Apartments located at 4811 Terra Vista Cir. 
    • Supper and Snack: 11:30 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.  
  • Villa De Cancun Apartments located at 5300 Baseline Rd. 
    • Supper and Snack 12:55 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. 
  • Whispering Hills Mobile Homes located at 11500 Chicot Rd. 
    •  Supper and Snack 12:40 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. 

On December 21-23rd, 28-31st, and January 2nd the following locations will serve meals:   

Monday- Friday | 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.  

Saturday | 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 

  • Children’s Library & Learning Center located at 4800 W. 10th St. 
  • Dee Brown Library located at 6325 Baseline Dr. 
  • Fletcher Library located at 823 N Buchanan St. 
  • Main Library located at 100 S. Rock St. 
  • McMath Library located at 2100 John Barrow Rd. 
  • Nixon Library located at 703 W Main St., Jacksonville 
  • Rooker Library located at 11 Otter Creek Ct. 
  • Sanders Library located at 10200 Johnson Dr., Sherwood 
  • Terry Library located at 2015 Napa Valley Dr. 
  • Williams Library located at 1800 Chester St.* 
    • *Williams Library will serve from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on weekdays.  

Happy Holidays!

Meet your coordinator Kay Kay DeRossette

Standing at only 5 feet and 2 inches, Kay Kay DeRossette is the muscle behind Be Mighty Little Rock. A fifth-generation native of Vicksburg, Mississippi, DeRossette went to the same Catholic school from pre-K to senior year. In her small town, everyone knew everyone.

Her journey to Be Mighty Little Rock is a bit out of the ordinary, starting with the fact that she majored in Exercise Science at the University of Mississippi.

“When I started college, I thought I wanted to be in the healthcare field,” DeRossette said. “I tried pharmacy then switched to pre-nursing. Ole Miss does not have a nursing school at the main campus in Oxford, and by the time I got ready to apply to nursing school I had fallen in love with main campus life. I decided to switch my major to Exercise Science with the goal of completing an accelerated nursing degree. But I never applied to nursing school.

Fortunately, DeRossette’s campus involvement aided her transition into the nonprofit sector. Her most stellar experience was an internship for The Green Grove Campaign with the Office of Sustainability at Ole Miss. This became a three-year project and ultimately a permanent fixture on campus that is still in operation today. The campaign increased ecological awareness, improved education around football game-day recycling, and eventually led her to the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.

DeRossette explained the project with nostalgia. “The Environmental Protection Agency hosted a game-day challenge where colleges and universities reported diversion rate for one football game.” [Diversion rate measures how much waste avoids landfills and becomes reusable or compostable –ed.] “The University of Arkansas was the only SEC school to rank in the top ten. I was impressed with their abilities to divert waste on game day and saw them as a leader in the south. My co-curricular experiences in undergrad led me to pursue a master’s in Higher Education and graduate certificate in Sustainability from the University of Arkansas.”

Her time at the University of Arkansas was well spent as she worked in the Center for Community Engagement as the Food Programs Graduate Assistant. She was able to successfully support student leaders from the Full Circle Campus Food Pantry and Razorback Food Recovery program. Together, they were able to recover 50,000 pounds of food from campus dining halls.

After graduating from the University of Arkansas, DeRossette was hired as a Feeding America: Child Hunger Corps member at the Arkansas Food Bank in Little Rock. She values what she learned there. “Arkansas Food Bank was a great experience and where I was first introduced to federal nutrition programs. I also learned a lot about nonprofits and the Feeding America Network.”

Sitting in her office with décor in sharp purple, green and blue for Be Mighty Little Rock, DeRossette enthusiastically shared how she became the engine behind the anti-hunger campaign.

“The City of Little Rock had received a grant to create an anti-hunger campaign. With this grant, the city led a partnership including the Central Arkansas Library System, the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, and the Little Rock School District to launch Be Mighty Little Rock.”

“A friend heard the advertisement for this position on the radio one morning and told me they thought it would be a good fit for me—I decided to apply,” she said. “I was on a run one day and got a call in the middle of the run offering me the position.”

Her acceptance of the position was a good thing for Little Rock. Seldom does a coordinator gracefully wear so many hats and count it all as joy. With her infectious smile and calm demeanor, DeRossette shared what roles bring her the most satisfaction as well as difficulty.

“I enjoy visiting meal sites, meeting site coordinators, and observing meal service in action. Seeing families participate in our programs is the most rewarding part of this job. I get stressed if something goes wrong with a delivery, or if a volunteer that we had scheduled to work meal service does not show up. The day-to-day logistical stuff can bring stress, but it’s an important part of the program.”

While day-to-day operations can be hectic, it’s Be Mighty’s potential that keeps DeRossette invested and engaged. She feels that this potential for creativity and innovation grounds her. However, there have been hard truths she has had to both learn and accept in this industry.

“There is always going to be more work that can be done, or things that can be improved,” she said. “I try identifying resources to implement positive change one step at a time, rather than getting bogged down by trying to alleviate poverty and save the world. I ask myself, what can I do to make things better today? Then I try to do it.”

If one person can’t save the world, how do they measure success? While data might be the most obvious choice, DeRossette believes that data does not always tell the entire story. An increase in program participants is a major win but not the only objective. DeRossette also measures success through partnerships.

During the 2019-2020 school year, Be Mighty partnered with the Little Rock School District to sponsor 16 after-school meal sites. This initiative was a major success because local resources and networks were utilized to combat a local problem. Since then, Be Mighty has connected local nonprofits to the Department of Human Resources to help them become USDA meal sponsors.

Be Mighty Little Rock’s goals for the 2020-2021 school year still include connecting families with meals, but now it’s time to consider expanding meal sites, adding screening and referrals, and focusing on meal quality. DeRossette is passionate about these efforts.

“Providing complete meal coverage is a goal for 2020. This means having various locations serving meals at different times and days in target neighborhoods,” she said. “Another goal is to build a food security screening and referral system for our website. This will help us connect families in need to additional resources like SNAP, WIC, transportation, and food pantries. Food quality is one of my biggest passions. I would love to make improvements to the quality of food provided through these programs.”

Nothing is standing in the way of DeRossette’s goals, not even COVID-19. While the pandemic changed how meals are served, it did not stop the entire operation. Before the pandemic, it was required for students to eat their meals while on the premises of a meal site. But after the virus struck, USDA allowed students to grab a meal and go offsite throughout the summer months.

While USDA has not approved a waiver for grab-and-go after-school meals, Be Mighty Little Rock is working to figure out the best solution. Be Mighty will continue to provide meals for the community but also make sure that staff and participants will be safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

Be Mighty Little Rock becomes more efficient each year. What would it look like for the campaign to prepare its own meals and expand to other counties? While it might be too soon to tell, DeRossette is working to create more depth for Be Mighty Little Rock. With the support of the Central Arkansas Library System, she is able to implement innovative solutions to solving hunger in our community.