10 Actions You Can Take to Help Fight Hunger in Arkansas
September is Hunger Action Month, a time when members of the hunger relief community work to raise awareness of hunger in Arkansas and the problems that surround it. We know that children who are hungry do not do as well in school and develop health problems that often stay with them for a lifetime. We know that seniors who struggle with hunger have significantly more frequent and longer lasting health crises than other seniors. We know that hunger is about poverty and that 1 out of 9 Arkansas workers qualify for federal food assistance. So, during this month of hunger awareness and action, what can you do to be part of the solution?
- Make a cash donation to the Alliance or your local food bank. Utilizing bulk purchasing and distribution systems the Alliance and our food bank partners can buy more food per dollar, often up to five times the value of a grocery store purchase.
- Sponsor a Cooking Matters class. The Alliance donor supported programs like Cooking Matters and Cooking Matters at the Store teach adults and families how to buy and prepare healthy meals on a budget and have been shown to reduce the likelihood of remaining food insecure by up to 50 percent.
- Donate your time or money to a food pantry in your area. Pantries are on the front line of hunger relief (making pickups from local grocers, transporting food from the food bank, stocking shelves, and boxing food for members in the community) and, more often than not, don’t have the donor or volunteer bases it takes to expand their services, much as they would like to.
- Volunteer at your local Feeding America food bank. There are six food banks in Arkansas and all have volunteer programs that will make good use of your time.
- Make your voice heard. Let your legislators (state and federal) know that it’s not ok with you for seniors to be faced with choosing between medication or food, for children to go to bed hungry or for family members to take turns going without meals so their kids can eat. Let them know that you understand the importance of the SNAP and the USDA child nutrition programs, who they help and why they should be strengthened (not cut).
- Become a social media advocate. LIKE the Alliance Facebook page and FOLLOW us on Twitter (@ARHungerRelief). When you share our posts and retweet our tweets, you are helping spread the word about hunger and its solutions in Arkansas.
- Donate a cow, calf or steer to the Arkansas Beef Project and provide a source of much needed protein to food pantries in the area.
- Host a house party to raise money and awareness for the Arkansas No Kid Hungry campaign. Providing grants to help sponsors build sustainable summer and afterschool meals programs, start Cooking Matters classes and supporting schools that offer Breakfast After the Bell programs require funding that must come—in part— from donors.
- Encourage your church to open a food pantry or support the work of an existing community or school pantry in your area.
- Organize a food drive to help stock the shelves of your local pantry or food bank.
- Become a member of the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, and we will keep you advised of volunteer opportunities, upcoming events, advocacy issues and the latest reports on hunger in the nation and in Arkansas.
Whether big or small, there are actions you can take to be part of the solution to hunger in Arkansas. We welcome your commitment.