Volunteer collect food for hungry children

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)-Around forty volunteers will be working all day on Saturday to collect food for the hungry children in Region 8.

"Kans for Kids" food drive is taking place from eight to two.

Kans for Kids benefits the backpack program sponsored through the Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas.

The back pack program sends food home with children on the weekends.

Kans for Kids was created two years ago by a Leadership Jonesboro Team.

Since then, every year the project has carried on to new teams.

Lindsey Hawkins is a part of the Leadership Team that is running the Kans for Kids food drive.

Lindsey says the back pack program takes care of the child's nutritional needs for the entire weekend.

"They get a back pack full of food which includes six meals and two snacks. They get the back pack on Friday and bring the empty back pack back to school on Monday."

Lindsey says the Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas has done a number of eye opening studies in order to better serve the community it represents, which includes the children.

"They've done some studies through the food bank and found that most kids have access and know how to operate a microwave, but they often don't have access or know how to use a can opener. They've also found the majority of these children are left alone on the weekends. Either because their parents work on the weekends or they're being neglected."

For this reason, Lindsey says it's important that people purchase kid friendly, easy to open products.

Vicki Pillow with the Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas says the number of people in Arkansas going hungry is becoming alarming.

"With the economy there are more people needing food assistance and unfortunately this includes children. We had a boy that came to get his back pack. The counselor gave it to him and he had a huge smile on his face and said, 'my mom sure will be glad to see this back pack I got because she just told me this morning we were out of food.' It just breaks your heart, even tears your heart out because he was so excited and grateful to get that food."

This is the first year Lindsey has participated in Kans for Kids.

Lindsey says she was astonished with what she learned when she got involved.

"The most shocking part for me was that this was all right here. This is Northeast Arkansas. These are children in school that people know and don't realize are suffering."

According to a study by the USDA for 2011, only one out of eight Arkansans believed there could be someone at risk for hunger.

Yet, Arkansas has the highest incidents of hunger in country and is also number one in childhood hunger.

So far, there are four hundred and eighty children in the back pack program in Region 8.

Volunteers will be set up at Hays on Nettleton, Harps, Wal-Mart on Parker Road, and the Bill's locations on Hilltop and South Stadium.

For more information about, log onto their website.

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