Children throughout the area can continue to receive nutritious meals throughout the summer, thanks to the efforts of local organizations and what some organizers call their “labor of love.”
More than 549,000 people in Arkansas are classified as “food insecure,” according to Feeding America, including thousands in the Fort Smith region.
“The summer is a really tough time for low-income families,” Crystal FitzSimons, director of school and out-of-school programs for the Food Research Action Center in Washington, says in a news release. “They often lose access to free or reduced-price school meals. The summer is a time of increased food insecurity. Kids are also more likely to gain weight during the summer months.”
There are several locations in Logan County where summer meals can be obtained. They are the Paris Boys and Girls Club, Magazine public schools and schools in Booneville.
Here are the details.
Paris: The Paris Boys and Girls Club will serve lunch and an afternoon snack during regular hours through June 2, July 3-7 and Aug. 7-11. Meal and snack service began Monday. The club’s hours are 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday and 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Wednesday. The club is located at 717 North Fifth Street.
Lunch will be served at noon and the afternoon snack will be served at 3 p.m.
The club has served meals for the last three years and averaged serving 26 children a day last year, according to Betty Perry, the activities assistant.
Program Director Holly Hurst said last week that meals draw children to the club.
“I saw a lot of older kids who can walk to the club show up at lunch last year,” she said. “They’re here for the meal.”
For more information, call 963-3577.
Booneville: Free meals are offered for children under age 18. Service begins June 5 and continues through July 28. Closed July 3 and July 4. Breakfast will be served from 7:30 a.m. until 8:30 a.m. and lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to noon at Booneville Elementary School, 386 W. 7th St.
Magazine: Meals will be served through Aug. 4 in the high school cafeteria. Breakfast will be served from 8 a.m. until 9 a.m., and lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to noon each weekday except for July 3 and July 4. Lunch will be served until 12:30 p.m. from June 5-9 and June 12-16 to accommodate local Bible schools.
(The Times Record of Fort Smith provided information for this report.)