I hope you will join us for Creative Strategies for Connecting with your Neighbor at 7pm on Thursday evening to discuss how we can continue to care for each other and for those most vulnerable in this time of uncertainty. Keep feeding and keep serving!

Next week is Spring Break and some schools, especially in rural areas, may not continue to serve meals.  Here is how we can step up and step out to connect with hungry children and their families over Spring Break:

Fill in the gap with lunch if your local school is not providing it. 1 person from the church should contact the school (call the office) and ask if they are serving meals over the break.

If not, build partnerships and provide lunch each day.

  • Invite other churches in your area to help provide a meal over the break. Each church can take 1 day.
  • Work with the schools to share with their community where meals will be offered and at what time.
    1. Try to serve out of the same spot so that the families know where to go each day.
    2. Keep the times limited to a reasonable time frame.
  • 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.
  • Pack meals to go – either cold bagged lunches or boxed hot meals.
    1. Set up tables near the door so that families can quickly grab and go. There should be no congregating.
    2. Keep a safe distance, using 6 feet.

Provide Food Boxes along with the meals. Connect with a food pantry or local backpack ministry to see if they can help provide groceries where lunches are being offered, at least 1 day that week.

Look to connect locally in other ways:

Backpack ministries are vital to providing food over the break and weekends.  Many schools and our churches have a weekend backpack ministry.  The school nurse and the office can help identify who that is for them.  Reach out and ask if they need help packing or collecting food.

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 may be able to connect you to a school or backpack program that needs support. 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:

Food Bank of North Central Arkansas
Jeff Quick
foodbanknca.org

Arkansas Food Bank
Patricia Fry or Connie Bledsoe
arkansasfoodbank.org
If you would like to help the ARFB pack boxes this week, please sign up for a volunteer shift here.

Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas
*Jennifer Hannah or Emily Still
foodbankofnea.org

River Valley Regional Food Bank
*Morgan Osman or Tracy Engle
rvrfoodbank.org

Northwest Arkansas Food Bank
*Kent Eikenberry
nwafoodbank.org

Harvest Regional Food Bank
Camille Wrinkle
harvestregionalfoodbank.org

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