JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) -The employees of a gas station are filling up children’s bellies, not just parents’ gas tanks.
The Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas recently received a $3,000 grant from Kum & Go.
Those funds will be used to support the food bank’s Backpack Program, which works to meet the needs of hungry children by providing them with nutritious, easy to prepare food they take home with them on the weekends.
Christie Jordan, the food bank’s chief executive officer, said hunger can impact a child in a number of negative ways, not just an empty stomach.
“Research shows that children who experience hunger face significant stress and challenges that can have lasting effect on their physical, cognitive and behavioral development,” Jordan said. “We are very grateful for the support we received through Kum & Go. This grant will help us provide food to children at risk of hunger, so they won’t have to worry about where their next meal will come from over the weekend.”
Once a child has been selected to be in the Backpack Program, they stay on it until they graduate from school or the need is no longer there.
The food bank serves 12 Region 8 counties and out of that area, 1 in 4 children are food insecure.
Jordan said the food bank currently serves 1,111 students at 36 Northeast Arkansas schools.
Vicki Pillow, director of development for the food bank, said there are plenty of kids in need of help.
“There is a waiting list of children who need to be in the program,” Pillow said. “There are currently 20,340 food insecure kids in the food bank’s service area.”
Someone can sponsor a child in need for an annual donation of $150.
The food bank is a member of Feeding America and the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, meaning they can provide four meals for every $1 donated.
They also serve 113,000 meals each week to people at risk of hunger.
To learn what you can do to help, call 870-932-3663 or contact them online.