“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.
Find a Summer Meals location near you!
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 or more 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 an approved 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. The meals served follow USDA nutrition guidelines and are paid for by 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. When the last day of school is drawing near, parents and care givers can find a summer meals site in their communities by:
- Going to http://www.fns.usda.gov/summerfoodrocks interactive map that will show meal sites near you. If the map is not operating, check back closer to the last day of school when summer sites have been loaded into the map.
- Calling 1-866-3-HUNGRY or 1-877-8-HAMBRE(a live operator will ask for your address and give you a list of sites.)
- Texting FOOD to 877 877 (you will be asked for your zip code and receive a list of sites in your area.)
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 SiKia Brown, Out of School Programs Director at email@example.com or call 501-399-9999.
The Summer Meals Sponsor Application Period
Applications for the 2019 Arkansas Summer Food Service Program (ASFSP) will be processed in two phases, beginning in January, according to officials with the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS). The first period, only for schools and government sponsors, will open on January 14. All other provider applications will be accepted beginning February 15, and the deadline for all applications is April 30, 2019.
For more information on Summer Meals and Seamless Summer applications for 2019 click here.
Grant Money Builds Program Capacity
This application is for funding from No Kid Hungry to help organizations expand access to and participation in USDA-supported summer meals programs. If you wish to learn more about SFSP/NLSP summer meals and the summer meals program, please see http://www.summerfood.usda.gov/.
Applying organization must be:
- A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization currently in good standing, and/or other organization recognized by the IRS as eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions
- An SFSP or NSLP summer meal program sponsor for summer 2018. You must have already started the SFSP application process with your state agency at the time you submit your grant application. We will accept grant applications from organizations that have started the process and/or are awaiting approval from your state agency; however grants will only be awarded to organizations that are approved as program sponsors.
The goal of this program is to increase the number of children participating in SFSP/NSLP summer meals programs. Share Our Strength endorses the following strategies to increase participation in summer meals:
- Increasing days of service at existing sites. We will prioritize applications where sites add at least 5 service days during the summer.
- Adding a second meal type (including breakfast, lunch, snack, and supper) at existing sites.
- Adding new sites in underserved or high-need areas, which may include partnering with new organizations like libraries, schools, etc., and developing new mobile meal routes.
Eligible Uses of Grant Funds:
Funding may be used for equipment, personnel, transportation, and other non-food program expenses. As a rule we do not provide funding for the cost of food. When possible, we prefer to fund expenses that will benefit your program beyond summer 2018 and make it sustainable into the future.
If funded, you will be required to complete a report on the following:
- Financial report on use of funds
- Participation numbers (similar to information that is already required for sponsors to report for the USDA)
- Narrative report on the successes and challenges of your program over the course of the summer
Grant applications will be evaluated based on:
- Adherence to Eligibility and Requirements guidelines
- Ability to reach high-need populations and/or areas under served by summer meals programs
- Growth potential for summer meals participation
- Information provided in proposal describes an understanding of the specific needs in your community, and a well-thought out plan for your summer program
- Funds requested are connected to the needs and plan presented in the proposal
- Applicants will be notified of grant status within 4-6 weeks of the application deadline.
- Grant payments will be issued after we have confirmed that you have been approved as an SFSP/ NSLP summer meals sponsor by your state agency, and after we receive your signed grant agreement letter.
Application Due Date: April 30, 2018
Maximum request amount: $2,500 (possibly more for high need areas)
To apply for a No Kid Hungry grant, please follow the below directions:
- Ensure that you are using either Mozilla Firefox or Chrome browsers to access our portal. Please do not use Internet Explorer as it may cause unintended technical difficulties.
- You must first be logged in to our No Kid Hungry Grants Portal by visiting: https://nokidhungrygrants.force.com/. If you do not have an account, please first make sure to register here.
- If you have an account but have trouble logging in, please reset your password here or email our help desk at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that your username is the first half of your email. For instance, email@example.com has a username of janedoe.
- To begin your application, please click the following link:
- Complete the application and click “save and next” before hitting “submit”.
For questions about eligibility or requirements to apply for this grant or about the summer meals program in general, please email, SiKia Brown at: firstname.lastname@example.org or for technical support, please contact GrantsHelpDesk@strength.org.
Summer Meals Mobile Feeding Bus Awarded
The Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance Mobile Bus grant was awarded in 2015 to Promise Land Food Program, in Springdale, Arkansas.
Interested in starting a mobile feeding program? Contact SiKia Brown at email@example.com.