MONETTE, AR (KAIT) - During the school year the Monette Housing Authority works with the Monette schools to help prevent kids from going hungry on weekends by filling backpacks. Unfortunately hunger doesn't end when school ends.
There are still a few families that are still taking advantage of the back pack program but the program can serve many more during the summer months.
Dr. Kima Stewart the Principal of BIC West Elementary school says getting the food is actually quite simple.
"They are certainly welcome to bring the backpacks here and get them re-filled if they have the transportation here. They can also contact the Monette Housing Authority and get food for their families and food for the backpacks all during the summer."
The Buffalo Island area has jumped in with both feet to support the food program. Monette Housing Authority Director Barbara Suber says she has been amazed at the amount and types of donations.
"It's amazing." Suber said, "We have been overwhelmed by our donations and the people that have been interested to feed the hungry in our community and the whole Buffalo Island area."
The food is collected and stored in a small building across from the housing authority office. Two donated freezers stand empty waiting to be re-filled with frozen meat and vegetables.
Barbara Suber and her daughter Dr. Kima Stewart are just two volunteers that give their time to support the organization.
Last Fall we told you about the backpack program based out of the B.I.B.L.E. building. Bible Standing for Buffalo Island Better Life Experience. That program passed out backpacks on Fridays so that kids and their families would have food over the weekend. Stewart says not much has changed for food needs or availability.
"They have the option of continuing that even though we are not in session in school, so we cannot transport the back packs each week." The kids have their backpacks already so they just need to bring them in and it's more than just backpacks that is available.
Suber, "Because of the donations we have plenty of money and plenty of food on hand." They have donations coming in all the time. Also they have an account at a local grocery store so that those needing aid can get milk and cheese and bread and other items.
Dr. Stewart says people may not know of this available assistance with school being out.
Stewart, "We don't have any way of communicating with the families to know if they are out of town, if they are visiting with family in a different place."
Suber says word-of-mouth may be their best option.
"We'd like for anyone that knows of a family, knows of anyone that needs food to get in touch with the Monette Housing Authority."
For residents of Buffalo Island, The Housing Authority is open 5 days a week, Monday - Friday from 8-4. It's address is 429 South Williams in Monette. For information you can call 870-486-5487
The B.I.B.L.E program is also looking at a variety of ways to fight hunger in the area on a larger scale.
Behind the storage building is a huge yard. The original plan was to make this yard a community garden but lack of interest kind of put that by the wayside. But in the fall they are considering plans that will benefit the entire community.
Suber says, "It has been suggested that we till that land and make a community turnip patch for turnip greens and turnips."
The school backpack program will begin again when school starts in the Fall.