SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The Northwest Arkansas Food Bank plans to continue food service to more than a dozen schools around the region despite some districts discontinuing free lunch for all students.

The “School Pantry” program originally started in 2019 at Monitor Elementary School in Springdale. It’s one of more than a dozen schools around the region that’ll be handing out boxes of food once a month to families in need.

According to the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank, 1 in 5 kids in Arkansas is food insecure. The NWA Food Bank will provide food ranging from shelf-stable foods to frozen proteins. Sabrina Thiede, director of programs, says the food bank tries to serve the schools that see the most need.

“We try to target schools that have a free or reduced lunch rate of higher than 60%,” Thiede said. “Monitor Elementary School was somewhere around 80% when we started.”

Thiede says the food bank serves around 1,000 households and about 5,000 people per month.