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LR seeks help from groups in child nutrition

story.lead_photo.captionLittle Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. welcomes children on Wednesday after a press conference for the "Be Mighty Little Rock" initiative at Stephens Elementary School, Little Rock. –
Photo of Mitchell PE Masilun

Little Rock leaders call on community groups, churches, and other organizations to create places where children can get the food they need to be "powerful."

This is the name of a city-wide campaign that connects children and adolescents in need with school, weekend and summer meals, officials said Wednesday.

"Hunger is a problem in our city, and it's an issue that does not stop at the end of the day," said Ward 3 City Director and Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance executive director Kathy Webb. "After school and in the summer, our children can get the healthy meals they need to be powerful."

Little Rock was one of six US cities selected for a $ 139,500 scholarship in August to bolster their nutrition programs. The funding will help the city collaborate with the Central Arkansas Library System and local nonprofit organizations to provide food to off-school children who will receive complimentary lunches at reduced prices.

Federal programs provide food, but officials sometimes find it difficult to bring parents and children to facilities where they can get these meals. The goal of the National League of Cities and Food Research and Action Center grant is to help cities meet children wherever they are. For example, funding may help to create food places in places where children are offered enrichment programs such as cooking classes, games, reading or exercise programs.

"We want to make sure that we have these food resources so they can be healthy so they can have a sound mind and make sure they can be the most prolific student they can be," said Mayor Frank Scott Jr. on one Event on Wednesday announcing the start of the program.

Little Rock currently has 30 feeding grounds where meals and snacks are offered. These include schools, community centers, libraries and apartment complexes. Those responsible for the program hope that more groups will develop into locations that provide food for needy children. Application deadline for the feeding is April 30th.

About a quarter of the children in Little Rock are unsettled, Webb said.

Interested parties can participate in an information event at 14:00. February 24 at the Hillary Rodham Clinton Children's Library, 4800 W. 10th Street, said Katharine DeRossette, Project Co-ordinator of the Be Mighty Initiative.

Feeding station standards are set by the State Department for Human Services. The foods are funded by the US Department of Agriculture. Non-profit organizations that participate are eligible for a USDA reimbursement.

The number of Little Rock locations serving children through USDA-funded programs has fallen by about a dozen over the past two years, according to Human Services. This could be due to the fact that the websites due to the low number of visitors consolidate or that programs are switched to food programs of the Department of Education, said the DHS spokesman Marci Manley in an e-mail.

DeRossette can be reached at (501) 918-3016 or

<a target = "_ blank" class = "gallery__link" href = "" data-fancy "=" data " caption = "Photo by Kirk Montgomery
A map and information about children's food programs in the Little Rock area. ">

Photo of Kirk Montgomery
A map and information about children's food programs in the Little Rock area.

Subway on 14.02.2014

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