In a little town in Arkansas, there are kids living in two neighboring low-income apartment buildings. Most of these kids, like many across America, rely on school for regular meals. When the school year ends, these meals will disappear and these kids are in danger of going hungry this summer.
Recognizing the need in this community, No Kid Hungry and our local partner approached the managers of both buildings about setting up a free summer meals program. Luckily, one said yes, but sadly the other – citing fears of noise and trash – said no. To make matters worse, there is a tall, chain-link fence separating the two complexes and no way to cross that fence unless you walk to the highway – nearly a mile away. In short, kids from only one of the apartment buildings will have easy access to meals this summer. The others will not.
As word spread about the free meals in this small town in Arkansas, children from the other apartments would line up along the fence, faces and fingers pressed against the chain links, asking for food. The staff and volunteers scanned the long fence until they found a weak spot where they could lift the chain-link up just enough to slide a bagged meal underneath to the waiting hands on the other side. And all summer long, kids lined up on the other side of the fence to get free, healthy meals.
Finding a weak spot in the fence is not enough. We can’t rest until all kids have the food they need in the summer and the programs designed to feed kids are actually reaching those who need it.