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.
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.
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.