“You assume kids are eating healthy meals every day…. When I found out they weren’t, then I felt like I had to do something about that.”Barbara Mickles, New Deliverance Temple, North Little Rock
Watch Summer Meals video here.
See Heather’s Story and why summer meals are so important to Arkansas children.
Kids are at Risk in the Summer
For many kids, summertime means two things: fun and friends. For others, it means the only meals they can depend on ―school breakfast and school lunch―are no longer available. Families are faced with stretching already tight food budgets to feed hungry appetites through the summer. On average, families spend an additional $300 each month on food during the summer. Working parents who know their children are safe, supervised and fed during the school year must make other arrangements for their kids in the summer. It’s little wonder that, left to their own devices, children may make unhealthy food choices or not eat at all.
Summer Meals Feed Kids for Free
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers free summer meals to kids 18 years of age and younger across Arkansas when they go to a registered summer meals site in their area. Summer meals sites can be in schools, churches, community centers and other places that are safe for kids and teens to go. The meals served follow USDA nutrition guidelines and are paid for by the USDA.
Many sites offer educational and recreational activities that kids enjoy. Parents do not need to apply to the program to get a free summer meal for their kids and it does not interfere with other benefits they many be receiving. They can simply bring their child to a summer meals site in their community and their kids can eat a healthy, nutritious meal.
Find a Summer Meals Site Near You
There are USDA authorized Summer Meals Sites in almost every county in Arkansas. Use the national Why Hunger program locator tool to find a Summer Meals site near you at Whyhunger.org/findfood. The site is updated continually as more summer feeding sites are added to the program. If you go to the site and no information is available, try again closer to the last days of the school year.
Become a Summer Meals Site Sponsor
To make sure Arkansas children have free, nutritious meals and snacks during the summer months, it’s critical to have sponsors and locations in communities all across the state. Those eligible for USDA reimbursement as summer meals sponsors may be faith organizations or churches, non-profit organizations (such as the Boys & Girls Club), local civic groups, local food pantries, local government agencies, and existing Summer Food Service Program sponsors with one or multiple sites. In Arkansas, Summer Food Service sponsors are reimbursed weekly for the meals they serve to children. The program is administered in Arkansas by the Arkansas Department of Human Services and the Arkansas Department of Education with Alliance staff assisting potential sponsors in the application process, volunteer recruitment and outreach. If you are interested in becoming a Summer Food Service Program sponsor or adding feeding sites to your existing efforts, contact the Arkansas No Kid Hungry Out-of-School team at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 501-399-9999.
The Summer Meals Sponsor application period opens March 9, 2015, and closes May 15, 2015. The deadline to add meal sites is May 22nd.
For more information on Summer Meals and Seamless Summer applications see DHS 2015 Summer Meals Information
Grant Money Builds Program Capacity
As an added incentive, Share Our Strength is providing a grant opportunity for Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) sponsors to help organizations expand access and participation in USDA-supported summer meals programs.
Organizations are invited to apply for up to $2,000. Organizations that receive full funding would fully align with the No Kid Hungry Campaign’s goals: access, education, and awareness. These goals are further outlined on the No Kid Hungry website at www.nokidhungry.org . Grant funds are focused on projects with long-term impacts and/or food support infrastructure needs such as kitchen equipment and transportation.
Application deadline is May 15, 2015 (application deadline is subject to change)
- Your organization should be a 501c3 nonprofit organization currently in good standing, and/or other organization recognized by the IRS as eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions.
- You must be an SFSP and NLSP summer meal program sponsor for summer 2015.
- You must have already started the SFSP application process at the time you submit your grant application.
- Go to www.grants.nokidhungry.org
- Create an account by filling in the “Step 1 of 2: Account Set-Up”
- Complete “Step 2 of 2: Contact Information”
- Complete Organizational Information Page
- You will then be taken to a page where you may input your access code: ARSUMMER2015. Note: if you have trouble accessing the application, PLEASE UPDATE YOUR WEB-BROWSER or use a browser other than Internet Explorer.
- Fill in all required information and submit application
- If at any time you need technical assistance or are experiencing difficulties using the online grants portal, please click on the “HELP DESK” link that is in the top right corner of every page.
For questions about the Summer Food Service Program or other assistance, email email@example.com or call 501.399.9999.
Apply for the FREE Summer Meals Mobile Feeding Bus
Sponsors tell us that transportation issues are one of the biggest barriers to expanding the Summer and After-school Meals programs to reach children who do not have immediate access to meal sites. In an effort to pilot a mobile meals strategy that has proven successful in other states, the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance purchased and retrofitted a surplus school bus to become a full-service mobile meal delivery system that can help a sponsor serve meals to hard-to-reach kids. The bus is fully equipped and ready to serve nutritious meals to hungry.
The Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, lead partner for the No Kid Hungry Campaign in Arkansas, is providing a grant opportunity for Food Service Program sponsors to expand access and participation in USDA-supported meal programs, by awarding a fully operational, retrofitted bus to a sponsor to increase mobile feeding in their area.
Organizations are invited to apply to be awarded a completely retrofitted bus to use in their summer and after-school mobile meals programs. Applicant organizations must be fully aligned with the No Kid Hungry Campaign’s goal to ensure that all children have access to the healthy food they need every day. The grant review process will favor sponsors with long-term impact potential, capable of maintaining year-round (after-school as well as summer) meals programs and possessing the infrastructure to operate and provide proper maintenance (licensing, insurance, and mechanical upkeep) of the bus for two or more years.
Application deadline is Friday, May 1st. Download the Summer Meals Bus Application, fill it out and mail or scan/email it to:
Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance | 1400 West Markham, Suite 304 | Little Rock, AR 72201
Email to firstname.lastname@example.org and put BUS APPLICATION in the subject line.
Applicant organization MUST:
- Be an approved sponsor of the USDA-supported Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) or Seamless Summer Option (SSO) and the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)
- Have been a SFSP/SSO and CACFP meal program sponsor for the 2014 program year, and have started the SFSP/SSO 2015 application process
- Demonstrate program viability and be in good standing with the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) and/or the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE)
- Agree to continue to be an SFSP/SSO and CACFP sponsor and maintain good standing with DHS and/or ADE for a minimum of 24 months if awarded the bus
- Agree to participate in media events and allow Arkansas No Kid Hungry/Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance access to the bus for promotional events, as well as allow photographs of the bus at your organization’s feeding program(s) for 24 months. *(understanding that those images can be used at the discretion of NKH/AHRA.)
- Submit written activity summaries (with photographs of the bus in service) twice per month during the Summer Meals program and once every 3 months during the Afterschool Meals program over the terms of this agreement
Questions? Email SiKia Brown at email@example.com.