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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.

Fighting More than Fires

The Little Rock Fire Department is launching a free grab and go meal program for kids and teens in partnership with FAB44. Together they hope to #SlamDunkHunger.

“As firefighters, we are in the community daily. We see children of all ages and walks of life. We know there are underprivileged kids in our community, and sometimes the only meals they get are from their schools. We want the community to see fire stations as safe zones. We hope that by serving free meals for kids, we can achieve that goal.”

-Mandrell Howell, Little Rock Firefighter

Beginning Tuesday, February 9, meals will be available at Fire Stations No. 19 and No. 24. Meals will be available for pick up from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. while supplies last. The stations will have meals available Monday- Thursday.

  • Fire Station No. 19 is located at 10621 Chicot Rd. 
  • Fire Station No. 24 is located at 8801 Stagecoach Rd. 

The fire department is looking for volunteers to help distribute meals from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday- Thursday. If you are interested in volunteering, you can contact Mandrell Howell at 501-350-6992 or email mhowell@littlerock.gov. Help spread the word by downloading a flyer.

Everyday Ways YOU Can Support Little Rock Youth

By: Meredith Jones from finetimes.org

Every child has the potential to Be Mighty. However, not every child is born with the same resources and opportunities. One in four Arkansas children lives in poverty, and children of color are twice as likely to be low-income than their white peers.

Not only does poverty make it difficult for families to put food on the table, but it also impairs a child’s ability to thrive. Poverty affects the way kids learn, play, and grow and is linked to worse outcomes in health and achievement.

When you want to lift up a community and build a brighter future, it makes sense to start with the youth. But what can the average Arkansan do to improve the lives of Little Rock youth? Here are three ways you can help Arkansas kids thrive.

Volunteer and Donate to Little Rock Organizations

Giving back is a simple way to strengthen your community from within. Whether you have time to volunteer, money to donate, or both, here are Little Rock organizations that deserve your generosity.

Careers That Make a Difference for Kids

Do you want a rewarding career that makes a difference in the world? If you’re emotionally intelligent, a quick thinker, and can keep your cool in a crisis, a career working with youth may be right for you.

  • Teacher: Teaching is the classic career choice for anyone seeking to shape young minds. Teaching requirements vary by state, but most teachers must complete an accredited bachelor’s degree and pass a licensing exam.
  • Child psychologist: Interested in mental health? Child psychologists are board-certified professionals who work in schools and clinical settings. Most child psychologists hold a Ph.D. in clinical psychology with a concentration in child development or clinical child psychology.
  • Social worker: Social workers may also provide counseling in addition to casework and care coordination, although this career path requires less education than psychology. While regulatory requirements vary by state, most social workers require a bachelor’s or master’s degree and state licensure to practice.
  • Pediatric nurse practitioner: Health is wealth, but improving the health of the community’s youth isn’t the only reason to choose this fast-growing career path. Pediatric NPs earn an average salary of over $100,000, making this one of the most well-paid jobs working with kids.

Creative Ways to Support Youth and Teens

Even if you’re not a parent, an investment in your community’s youth is an investment in the future. Here are some ways everyday citizens can engage and support Arkansas youth.

  • Get to know your neighbors and plan kid-friendly community bonding activities.
  • Offer support to parents you know.
  • “Adopt” a child or family for the holidays or participate in other seasonal giving events.
  • Organize a school supply drive to help children and teachers access the tools they need to succeed.
  • Start or expand the youth ministry in your church or faith community.
  • If you own a small business, make it a safe, fun place for youth to spend time.
  • Business owners can also start an internship program in partnership with local high schools.

It takes a village to lift up the community’s youth. Will you be a part of it? By working together to support Little Rock’s children and teens, we can fight back against poverty and create a brighter future for everyone. If you’re ready to start making a difference, join the newsletter to learn how to support Be Mighty Little Rock.

Free Food for Families

The Central Arkansas Library System is hosting food distributions for families. Each household will receive a box containing 30 pounds of fresh ingredients as well as four recipes that they can use when preparing the items in the box. Using the same recipes, library programmers will record cooking demonstrations. They will upload the videos to YouTube. Each box will have a flyer with the YouTube channel information. Families can go online to view cooking demonstrations and then prepare their meals at home together as a family.   

There is a limited supply and families are required to make a reservation by calling 501-918-3031 (English) or 501-320-5785 (Spanish).  Reservations will open on Monday, December 7, at 9:00 a.m.   Families interested should call to make a reservation between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday.  Once the reservations are full families will have the option to be put on a waitlist or to receive a follow up email, call, or text about additional food resources.  To be added to our newsletter, please complete this survey.  

Distributions will take place at the following times and locations. 

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11 

4:00 TO 5:00 P.M. 

Children’s Library and Learning Center | 4800 W. 10th St. 

McMath Library | 2100 John Barrow Rd. 

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 12 

11:00 A.M. TO 12:30 P.M. 

Dee Brown Library | 6325 Baseline Dr. 

Williams Library | 1800 Chester St. 

For more information, please contact Kay Kay DeRossette at kderossette@cals.org

Free Food for Families

To celebrate the upcoming holiday, the Central Arkansas Library System is hosting food distributions for families. Each household will receive a box containing 30 pounds of fresh ingredients as well as four recipes that they can use when preparing the items in the box. Using the same recipes, programmers will record cooking demonstrations. They will upload the videos to YouTube. Each box will have a flyer with the YouTube channel information. Families can go online to view cooking demonstrations and then prepare their meals at home together as a family.

Friday, November 20

3:00 to 5:00 p.m.

McMath Library | 2100 John Barrow Rd.

Williams Library | 1800 Chester St.

Saturday, November 21

10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Children’s Library and Learning Center | 4800 W. 10th St.

Dee Brown Library | 6325 Baseline Dr.

A second distribution will take place the second week of December. For more information, please contact Kay Kay DeRossette at kderossette@cals.org.

Chefs For the Polls

A fresh meal is more than a plate of food — it’s a sign that someone cares and that there’s hope for the future. As people across Little Rock get ready to make their voices heard, often facing great, nearly insurmountable challenges to do so, we can support and uplift them and show them how much they matter. World Central Kitchen is using the power of food to make Election Day one of community and hope.

People often cast their vote before work, during their lunch break, or after work — all prime meal times. World Central Kitchen knows that while long lines are an inconvenience for some, for many they can mean the difference between voting and not voting. For these reasons, World Central Kitchen and its partners are activating Chefs For The Polls to serve nourishing meals on early voting days and Election Day. They will be stationed by polling locations sharing meals with anyone – no questions asked.

“Since March, World Central Kitchen has been in Little Rock working with partners across the city, area food trucks and restaurants, bridging gaps in our communities. Chefs For The Polls allows us to continue building community and supporting our neighbors.”- Lori Ducey, World Central Kitchen

World Central Kitchen joins forces with food trucks and restaurants, continuing to engage with community-driven solutions that provide fresh meals – and also keep small businesses open in the midst of a health and economic crisis.

Chefs For The Polls is a non-partisan effort that will feed people of all political parties and beliefs. Meals are not offered as an incentive or reward for voting; rather, meals will be available at polling sites for anyone who is hungry.

Election Day is Tuesday, November 3, and both early voting sites and regular polling places will be open from 7:30 am to 7:30 pm.

On Election Day, all early voting sites will serve as polling centers, and will be open to voters from anywhere in the Pulaski County.

For complete election information in Pulaski County, please go to VotePulaski.net.

Tuesday, November 3

Conway County Fair Multi Purpose Building located at 901 E Elm St., Morrilton, AR

Crepe Coop| 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.

Noch’yo Nacho | 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Dee Brown Library located at 6325 Baseline Dr.

Cranford | 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.

Cranford | 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Jacksonville Community Center located at 5 Municipal Dr., Jacksonville, AR

Tacos Godoy | 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.

Tacos Godoy| 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Laman Library located at 2801 Orange St., North Little Rock, AR

Adobo To Go | 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.

Adobo to Go | 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

McMath Library located at 2100 John Barrow Rd.

Excaliburger | 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.

Nach’yo Nacho | 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Pulaski County Regional Building located at 501 W. Markham St.

Community Bakery | 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.

Pop Pop | 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Saint Mark Baptist Church located at 5722 W 12th St.

Cranford | 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.

Haygood | 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Thompson Library located at 38 Rahling Cir.

Well Brewed| 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.

Ivy’s Mobile Café | 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Williams Library located at 1800 Chester St.

Community Bakery | 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.

Crepe Coop | 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

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.

COVID 19 Staff & Volunteer Training

Thank you for volunteering to serve meals at Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) during COVID-19. Please watch the video posted below and review the following documents prior to serving meals at CALS. Once you arrive on site sign the training sheet to confirm that you have received proper training to serve USDA meals at CALS. If you have questions about USDA meal service at CALS please email kderossette@cals.org or call 601-218-4948. These rules only apply to meals served Monday- Friday.

Monday- Friday Meal Service

Little Rock School District staff will deliver meals to library sites between 10:30 a.m. and 10:50 a.m. Daily Meal Count Forms will be included with each delivery. Staff and volunteers should record the number of breakfast meals served on one sheet and the number of lunch meals served on another sheet. Prior to serving meals, volunteers and staff should wash their hands with soap and water for twenty seconds. Then put on gloves. Staff are required to wear mask while serving meals. If you need more masks, let me know and we’ll deliver more to your branch. Group the lunch sack with the breakfast sack and two cartons of milk. Then place the grouped meals on the table for the guardian or child to grab. These meals are available for children 18 and younger. Children do not have to be present to receive a meal. If no children are present, ask the parent how many children are in their household and then instruct them to take the same number of breakfast and lunch meals. Cross off numbers as each meal is distributed. Please take your temperature before serving meals. If you have had contact with anyone that has tested positive for COVID-19 or are running fever over 100.4 notify Kay Kay and she will find a sub to fill your shift. If you run out of meals before the end of meal service text Kay Kay (601-218-4948) and she will notify LRSD to deliver more meals. At the end of meal service, Daily Meal Count Forms must be emailed to childnutrition@lrsd.org and cc kderossette@cals.org.

Social Distancing Protocol

Set up a table outside of the building blocking the door. Set meals on the table. Then set up two carts in front of the table. Ask the patron to stand at the cart furthest from the table.  Move the number of meals requested to the middle cart.  Then instruct them to grab the meals from the middle cart. Maintain six feet distance from others at all times. This includes others that are also working meal service.

Adult Meals

If a parent would like a meal for themselves, you may give them a shelf stable meal. These are non reimbursable and different from the meals LRSD provides. If you run out of LRSD meals, you may serve shelf stable meals to kids.The shelf stable meals must be counted separately and should NOT be included on the daily meal count forms. At the end of meal service, send Kay Kay a message with the number of shelf stable meals served, if any.

DAILY MEAL COUNT FORM

USDA Nondiscrimination Statement:

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.  

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits.  Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.  Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: How to File a Complaint, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: 

  1. mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture 
    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights 
    1400 Independence Avenue, SW 
    Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; 
  2. fax: (202) 690-7442; or 
  3. email: program.intake@usda.gov.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

CALS Grab Go Meals

Lunches are available for pickup from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Dee Brown, Williams, and McMath branches, seven days a week. Evening meals for everyone are available Monday through Friday from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Upon arrival, grab the meal and consume it off-site. If others are present, keep your distance and do not congregate.

  • Dee Brown Library- 6325 Baseline Rd.
  • Children’s Library- 4800 W 10th St.
  • McMath Library- 2100 John Barrow Rd.
  • Williams Library- 1800 S Chester St.

Along with our partners at the City of Little Rock, Clinton Foundation, Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, and Little Rock School District, we are providing grab & go meals for children who typically get their most substantial nutrition from their schools and at our libraries.  If you would like to support meal programs at the Central Arkansas Library System, consider donating here.

Lunch at Libraries

Meals are available daily for kids and teens 18 and younger at the following locations from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Upon arrival, grab the meal and consume it off-site. If others are present, keep your distance and do not congregate.

  • Dee Brown Library- 6325 Baseline Rd.
  • McMath Library- 2100 John Barrow Rd.
  • Williams Library- 1800 S Chester St.

Working together to provide these valuable meals are Central Arkansas Library System, City of Little Rock, the Clinton Foundation, Hunger Alliance, and Little Rock School District. If you would like to support meal programs at the Central Arkansas Library System, consider donating here.