Latest Recommendations on Feeding Ministries from Mary Lewis Dassinger

This week is Spring Break and some schools, especially in rural areas, may not continue to serve meals.  Other schools that are not offering any type of continued instruction also may not be offering meals. This means that those low-income students lose access to two meals per day.  Please consider ways to provide meals to these students.

  • Do your research! 1 person from the church should call the local school, the school district or the school superintendent to ask how and where students are being fed. You can also reach out to your local county extension office agent, as they are also aware of resources that are being made available in your area.
  • Look ways to partner – help deliver meals or food boxes along bus routes if they are delivering instructional materials. Or, offer to provide meals at a convenient location for students.
  • Invite other churches in your area to help provide meals.
  • Recruit volunteers.
    1. Set up prep and cooking stations with space in between for volunteers.
    2. Recruit younger volunteers if possible, keeping our most vulnerable members safe.
  • Work with the schools to share with their community where meals will be offered and at what time. If not along a bus route or at low income housing areas where many children live,
    1. Try to serve out of the same spot so that the families know where to go each time.
    2. Keep the times limited to a reasonable time frame.
  • Pack meals to go – either cold bagged lunches or boxed hot meals.
    1. Deliver to cars using protective gear and wiping gloved hands with sanitizer between each delivery.
    2. Or, set up tables near the door so that families can quickly grab and go. There should be no congregating. Minimize activity in the building.
    3. Keep a safe distance, using 6 feet. Tape demarcating where people should stand or wait can be helpful.

Let Mary Lewis Dassinger know if you are providing meals.  If you need assistance, then there are potential resources with which to connect you.

Other Ways to Help

  • Provide Food Boxes along with the meals. Backpack ministries may have food available or looking for ways to continue.
  • Continue to support local food pantries or blessing boxes. Collect food to keep shelves full.
  • Regional food banks can also help you connect and serve. They may know where the greatest need is and able to connect you. They may also need volunteers to pack food boxes as well as financial donations to keep their warehouses full.
    • Any food collections would best be utilized at a local ministry since the food banks would have to turn the food around and send it back out.
    • Confirm volunteer conditions are practicing safe distances.

This link will provide a map of each food bank’s territory and links to their websites.

Contact Names:

North Central Arkansas
Jeff Quick

Arkansas Food Bank
Patricia Fry  (Volunteer Coordination) or Connie Bledsoe (Agency Coordinator)

If you would like to help the ARFB pack boxes this week, please sign up for a volunteer shift here.

Food Bank of North East Arkansas
*Jennifer Hannah or Emily Still

River Valley Regional Food Bank
*Morgan Osman or Tracy Engle

Northwest Arkansas Food Bank
*Kent Eikenberry

Harvest Regional Food Bank
Camille Wrinkle

*These names have been pulled from their websites and have not returned request for permission to contact specifically.

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