What effect has the pandemic had on kids in the United States? This report provides compelling data for why we need to do MORE for children at risk for food insecurity.
In 2014, the Annual Conference voted to unite in mission to fight childhood hunger in Arkansas. Over the years, we have seen the number of food insecure children in Arkansas drop from 200,000 to 149,670 before the pandemic (estimates are now that 1 in 3 children were food insecure during the pandemic.) At least 86% of our churches (540) have or are providing food to hungry children and their families, and 200,000 More Reasons has distributed more than $300,000 in small grant awards to help support congregations in their feeding ministries.
Feeding ministries allow families to spend their limited income on other necessities like rent and utilities. However, the relief is temporary in so many cases. More needs to be done to significantly move the needle on childhood hunger. We recognize that unless we address the root causes of poverty, especially for those living in generational poverty, our impact cannot be as significant as it needs to be for Arkansas’ children. In 2020, the Arkansas Annual Conference approved an expansion and extension of the work of this initiative.
As 200,000 More Reasons, we are asking churches to add poverty alleviation strategies to their ministries with hungry children. Specifically, we will focus on literacy and promoting healthy, stable families as means of hope, assistance, and the opportunity for families to move out of poverty.
Our mission remains the same: 100% of Arkansas United Methodist churches will participate in an initiative to significantly reduce childhood hunger through feeding ministries, public witness, and education for long-term stability. 200,000 MORE Reasons expands the understanding of education and long-term stability, believing that in working to alleviate poverty, we have the best opportunity for ending childhood hunger in Arkansas. Your ministries can provide access to food now; greater learning potential for the child in the future; and, opportunities for living without food insecurity for the next generation.
200,000 More Reasons Objectives
200,000 More Reasons will continue fighting childhood hunger through the 5 Action Areas – Feed, Provide, Garden, Teach & Public Witness.
200,000 More Reasons will provide literacy support so that every child in food insecure homes can read at grade level.
200,000 More Reasons will offer ministries to the adults in the lives of food insecure children that promote a healthy and stable family life.
The Methodist Foundation awarded 200,000 More Reasons the largest grant ever by the Foundation to strategically fight childhood hunger in the Arkansas Delta. These persistently impoverished counties have the highest rates of food insecurity in Arkansas. This three-year grant of $477,000 will:
- Provide $96,000 each year for mobile distributions in partnership with local United Methodist congregations and the Arkansas Food Bank
- Provide $28,000 in the first year to pilot 1-3 summer literacy experiences with the ability to add more ministries each year.
- Provide $25,000 in grant awards for churches around the state to add literacy and reading support to feeding ministries.
- Support the hiring of the Delta Community Project Coordinator to offer support to these summer literacy experiences and to explore starting a Project Transformation (summer literacy intern experience) in Arkansas.
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Already have a ministry that provides Nutrition, Literacy or Stability to low income children or the adults in their families?
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