Springdale, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — When school is out, food insecurity is more prevalent because kids need to eat more at home. So the Samaritan Community Center is there to make sure families do not have to worry this summer.
Pull on up to the Samaritan Community Center and a table of food is right there waiting for you.
“When schools are out in summer, parents have mouths to feed at home that they usually don’t,” Samaritan Community Center Nutrition Manager Chelsea Ford said.
They expect the lines to get longer this summer. But after the year we have had, the Samaritan Community Center is used to long lines.
“With COVID, in our market alone we saw 180% increase in the number of people that we served and when school is out and its summertime, we always see a big increase in numbers as well,” Ford said.
Thankfully, the volunteers here always answer the call.
“Regardless of the circumstances of what was going on in the world, potential dangers to themselves and all the unknowns that we were facing with the pandemic, our volunteers were just there throughout the whole thing,” Samaritan Community Center Volunteer Team Lead Johnny Long said.
Some days, the Samaritan Community Center provides groceries as people drive-thru a pick-up line. Other days, the cafe will be packed as volunteers serve a hot meal.
“We are volunteer-driven so a majority of people here are volunteers and they run the drive-thru service. They help in the cafe and then also in the garden and so we definitely need volunteers to help serve and make what we do possible,” Ford said.
Those volunteers create a special bond by getting to know the people they serve.
“That’s what it’s all about. It’s about that conversation, that relationship and serving people where they are,” Long said.
With a busy summer ahead, they can use more volunteers. To learn more, click here.