JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A recent study shows Arkansas is ranked one of the states with the most underprivileged children.
One big factor points to food insecurity.
Christie Jordan, CEO of the Food Bank of NEA told Region 8 over 25,000 kids in Northeast Arkansas alone face this issue.
Jordan's been with the Food Bank for over 20 years...and says Arkansas consistently ranks in the top 5 states for food insecurity.
Which falls in line with the finding from Wallet Hub.
According to a WalletHub survey, Arkansas did poorly in three major factors in the welfare of children ranking.
The Natural State ranked 4th in the percentage of children in households with below-poverty income.
It was also 3rd in both child food-insecurity and infant mortality rate.
"Food insecurity doesn't necessarily look like hunger might in a third-world country, but the truth of the matter is there are lots of people in Northeast Arkansas who don't know where their next meal is coming from." said Jordan
Right now in NEA, there are over 12.5 million missing meals from plates, and over 60,000 food insecure people.
One way the Food Bank tries to help combat food insecurity is through their Backpack Program.
"We serve about 1200 students every week of the school year." said Jordan, "And so on Friday or the last day of the school week, the students will stop by the office and they'll pick up a bag of food for the weekend."
Jordan said that while they already provide meals for over 1200 students, they also have a waiting list.
"There are schools that want to expand the number of children that they're able to serve." said Jordan, "So we're looking for sponsors."
For $150 a year, a student can be sponsored and receive a backpack every week of the school year.
"It's a really small investment to make a big impact in the life of a child." said Jordan.
Right now, the backpack program is used in 18 different schools throughout Northeast Arkansas.
If you're interested in sponsoring a child through the Backpack Program, you can contact the Food Bank of NEA at 870-932-FOOD.
You can also make donations at their website.