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Here's where Arkansas parents can find free meals for children over summer

'Be Mighty Little Rock,' a local organization is working to provide free meals to children in the state throughout the summer.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark — It's a tradition for Shyann Simmons before every big trip. She packs snacks and sandwiches for her children, as hotdogs cooking on the stove. 

Her fridge is stocked full of food items that she's grateful for since she's moved to Arkansas a month ago. 

"I'm a mother of four. I have struggled before a few times with wondering were we going to have enough food to last through the month," said Simmons.

That single month of worry easily turns into three over the summer months when you have an 11-year-old, 7 year-old, 3-year-old and 1-year-old that are out school or daycare for the summer. 

She said a lot of the food items they have were donated from food pantries. 

It was programs and organizations in the past that have helped her when her family was in need outside of the state. 

"So programs that help provide meals for the kids, especially during the summer or even during the school days-- free and reduced meals-- all of that has been a big help to my family," said Simmons.

With inflation and supply shortages impacting all aspects of life, a number of children are still in need of being fed. It's something that organizations like Be Mighty Little Rock are noticing. 

"It's really important, especially now more than ever with the cost of inflation, with the issue of sourcing foods. I think it is really important to provide members of our community with really trusted safe spaces," said Jasmine Zandi, a coordinator with Be Mighty Little Rock.

The program aims to act as city wide campaign that provides young kids and teens with free meals. Be Mighty Little Rock is brought together by the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) and works to distribute meals from 11 of their local libraries throughout the summer.

It's a group effort to get the food as Zandi said they get their meals through sponsors who have been struggling with outsourcing and paying for meals. 

"That's been difficult on our end, we have that staffing shortage [which] is what we're experiencing so we don't always have staff available to stay on site while folks are consuming meals. That means our distribution times are a little shorter than usual," said Zandi. 

As far as locations for the meals, you can find the local libraries, along with respective times here:

Monday- Saturday from June 1, 2022 – August 20, 2022. Children must be present and meals must be consumed on site:

  • Children’s Library and Learning Center located at 4800 W. 10th St., Little Rock | Breakfast: 9:00-9:30 a.m. & Lunch: 12:30-1:30 p.m.
  • Dee Brown Library located at 6325 Baseline Dr., Little Rock | Lunch: 12:00-12:30 p.m.
  • Fletcher Library located at 823 N. Buchanan St., Little Rock | Lunch: 11:15-11:45 a.m.
  • Main Library located at 100 Rock St., Little Rock | Breakfast: 9:00-9:30 a.m. & Lunch: 12:30-1:30 p.m.
  • Maumelle Library located at 10 Lake Pointe Drive, Maumelle | Breakfast: 10:00-10:45 a.m. & Lunch: 2:30-3:30 p.m.
  • McMath Library located at 2100 John Barrow Rd., Little Rock | Lunch: 12:15-12:45 p.m.
  • Nixon Library located at 703 West Main St., Jacksonville | Lunch: 11:30-12:30 p.m.
  • Rooker Library located at 11 Otter Creek Ct., Little Rock | Lunch: 12:00-1:00 p.m.
  • Sanders Library located at 10200 Johnson Dr., Sherwood | Lunch: 11:15-12:15 p.m.
  • Terry Library located at 2015 Napa Valley Dr., Little Rock | Lunch: 11:30-12:30 p.m.
  • Williams Library located at 1800 Chester St., Little Rock | Breakfast: 9:00-10:00 a.m. & Lunch: 1:00-2:00 p.m.

To search for locations throughout Arkansas you can type in your zip code, county or city here.

They're also asking for summer volunteers, which you can sign up for here if you're interested.

 

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