THE ARKANSAS HUNGER RELIEF ALLIANCE AND COVID-19
The Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance is working alongside our members and community partners to ensure that hungry Arkansans still have access to food during the spread of COVID-19. We’re communicating with our six state food bank partners and school districts across the state to make sure kids are still receiving the meals they normally rely on during the school day and families and seniors have access to food. Our SNAP team is helping folks understand and access expanded SNAP benefits, and we’re working with legislative leaders to advocate for policy and regulatory changes at the state and federal level to help provide relief to Arkansans most impacted by the pandemic.
For sponsors and sites who participate in CACFP/At-risk meal service, here’s an update on nationwide changes to waivers — SiKia Brown, the Alliance’s Out of School Programs Director, is working on another update based on waivers approved on Thursday, March 26.
- Currently, waivers are in place that allow non-congregate feeding in the Seamless Summer Option (SSO), which is administered by the Arkansas Department of Education, as well as the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) option, which is administered by the Department of Human Services.
- Schools have the ability to decide which option they will participate in: either with DHS or ADE. All other faith and community-based programs and non-profits can only participate in the SFSP option through DHS.
- Yesterday a nationwide waiver was issued by USDA, which allows for Child and Adult Care Feeding Program (CACFP) afterschool-approved sponsors to continue to serve meals during this time. This waives the onsite enrichment activity requirement, and it also allows for CACFP sponsors to also provide non-congregate (grab and go) meals.
- CACFP sponsors must submit their plan to serve to DHS and receive approval before they can operate.
- Only previously approved SFSP and CACFP-At-risk sites can be approved to operate during this time, per a DHS and ADE memo from March 24.
- There are waivers approved that allow for menu flexibility in all three programs — SFSP, CACFP, and SSO — but only if approved by the state agency (DHS or ADE) and only if there is a proven, valid reason as to why the sponsor cannot provide the required menu components, such as supply shortage, lack of availability, etc.
Our No Kid Hungry team is working hard to support Arkansas’s school and community meal programs in the wake of school closures. The team is staying up to date on revised USDA and state-level meal service requirements, best practices for meal distribution, meal site locations, at home meal planning tips and more, so please reach out to our staff with any questions or concerns. We’re here to help.
Patty Barker, No Kid Hungry Campaign Director: firstname.lastname@example.org
Vivian Nicholson, Breakfast Program Director: email@example.com
SiKia Brown, Out-Of-School Programs Director: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alex Handfinger, Cooking Matters Director: email@example.com
Samantha Stadter, Cooking Matters at the Store Field Manager: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our six food bank partners are working to ensure food is reaching hungry Arkansans all over the state. For more information on each of the food banks or to support their efforts, visit their websites:
Arkansas Food Bank in Little Rock: arkansasfoodbank.org
Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas in Jonesboro: foodbankofnea.org
Harvest Regional Food Bank in Texarkana: harvestregionalfoodbank.org
Food Bank of North Central Arkansas in Norfork: foodbanknca.org
Northwest Arkansas Food Bank in Bethel Heights: nwafoodbank.org
River Valley Regional Food Bank in Fort Smith: rvrfoodbank.org
We appreciate all you are doing to keep Arkansans fed and our communities safe. Please let us know if we can be of assistance.