Fayetteville, Ark. (KNWA) — A new program from the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank is taking the food right to the kids at school.
Monitor Elementary tries to go above and beyond for its students.
“We are always looking for opportunities to provide basic needs to our families,” Monitor Elementary Principal Andi Acuff said.
Because when their basic needs are met, the kids can go to school ready to learn.
“If kids come to school hungry, then they are not able to learn. So we are able to provide a breakfast and lunch for kiddos here but not a dinner. And so with the food bank kinda fills that need for our families who have food insecurities,” Acuff said.
Food insecurity hits the majority of families at Monitor Elementary.
“89% of their students are on free or reduced lunch, meaning that 89% of the kids that go to school here and live in this area are at the poverty level or below,” Northwest Arkansas Food Bank’s Agency Relations Coordinator Sabrina Thiede said.
So Northwest Arkansas Food Bank decided it was the perfect place to launch a new program, bringing the food bank right to the school.
“We come after school so when parents are already here picking up their kids, it’s just an easy way for them to receive some extra food to get them through the month,” Thiede said.
This past month, it gave out about 150 boxes of food and that number continues to grow.
“Everyone qualifies that is a student right now at Monitor Elementary. They can come right now and the office has paperwork for them to fill out,” Thiede said.
This program has been so popular, Northwest Arkansas Food Bank is getting ready to bring it to more schools.
“We’ve received some other grants that are going to help us start some other school pantries. We’ve decided to do school pantries, this is our first one, and we’re doing them because one in four kids in Northwest Arkansas are food insecure,” Thiede said.
“For a lot of our families, transportation and opportunities to access them is sometimes difficult and that’s why we really appreciate the program being at our school,” Acuff said.
Northwest Arkansas Food Bank plans to be in five schools by the year 2025.