“Our mission is a unified effort to reduce hunger and improve access to nutritious food by providing tools and resources, empowerment, advocacy, education and research.”
We are accomplishing our goal by:
- Building reliable, sustainable sources of nutritious food for the hungry in Arkansas.
- Securing food and funding to assist our members in meeting the needs of people in their service areas.
- Making sure that those Arkansans who qualify for food assistance programs are enrolled and receiving the benefits these programs provide.
- Encouraging schools to increase their breakfast participation by introducing Breakfast After the Bell programs that make breakfast part of the school day and have real benefits for students.
- Promoting nutrition education programs that empower low-income Arkansans with the skills they need to make healthy food choices, prepare nutritious meals and get more from their food dollars.
- Raising awareness of the economic, academic and social impact hunger has on our state.
- Advocating on food policy issues that are contributing to and resulting from hunger.
As a solution.
In 2001, the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation awarded funding to examine and improve the existing charitable food distribution system in Arkansas. The hunger-relief organizations in the state were identified and contacted by the Reynolds Foundation to determine their interest and willingness to work together to build a coordinated food distribution system. In 2004, our six founding members, the Arkansas Foodbank, Food Bank of North Central Arkansas, Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas, Harvest Regional Food Bank, River Valley Regional Food Bank and the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank, with the assistance of a 3-year start-up grant from the Reynolds Foundation, formally incorporated the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance in the state of Arkansas
As a leader.
The Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance works with local, state and federal organizations to keep food on the tables of our fellow Arkansans who need it most and help shape policy decisions that impact hunger in our state.
Mounting research shows that students who eat a nutritious breakfast start the day focused and ready to learn. To increase the number of Arkansas students eating school breakfast, the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance helped initiate the Arkansas Meals for Achievement (AMFA) pilot grant program (Act 383 of 2013) that provided grants to public schools choosing to serve breakfast after the bell to all students at no charge. The grants complement federal school lunch funding and supplement the cost of providing a free breakfast to all students. Of the more than 200 applicants, a total of 32 schools have participated in the program in the 2013/14 and 2014/15 school years.
The Alliance was asked to provide testimony before the National Commission on Hunger in May of 2015. The 10-member National Commission on Hunger is a congressionally appointed bi-partisan commission charged with developing innovative reforms in both public and private food assistance programs to reduce or eliminate very low food security. The recommendations are meant to include ways to more effectively use federal programs and funds. As part of its information gathering process, the Commission conducted public hearings across the country. In the committee’s mandated report to Congress, the Alliance was recognized as a leader in implementing effective strategies to relieve hunger in the state.
Today, the Alliance includes more than 500 members including our original six Feeding America food bank members, local food pantries, soup kitchens, food rescue organizations, global food wholesalers and retailers, state level hunger programs and hunger advocates from around the state who are working daily to reduce hunger in Arkansas.
As a partner.
The Alliance Today
- In 2014, our six Feeding America food bank members along with Project Hope distributed 44,032,106 pounds of food to programs and agencies that directly feed Arkansans in need. Through our purchasing and donation programs, the Alliance is able to secure food from state and national food suppliers for distribution to member food banks. In 2016, our combined efforts put an astonishing 52.2 million pounds of food ―the equivalent of over 37.3 million meals― into our communities.
- In 2016 the Alliance awarded more than $188,827.00 in grants to our member agencies to help them build their capacity to serve the increasing number of people who look to them for food assistance.
- The Arkansas Gleaning Project made more than 2.0 million pounds of fresh produce available to low income Arkansans.
- In 2016, the work of the Arkansas No Kid Hungry campaign and our stakeholders resulted in 182 sponsor organizations serving meals at 1,044 sites across the state. More than 2.4 million meals were served to Arkansas kids during the summer of 2016.
- The Alliance awarded more than $187,000 in Share Our Strength/Arkansas No Kid Hungry campaign grants to sponsor organizations that participated in the Summer Meals and/or Afterschool programs and more than $561,000 in grants to help Arkansas schools start Breakfast-After-the-Bell programs.
- As of January 2017 the Alliance has helped more than 500 Arkansas schools―through technical assistance and grants―offer Grab & Go, Breakfast in the Classroom or Second Chance Breakfast to their students. According to the Arkansas Department of Education, we have seen a 3.6 million meal increase since Breakfast After the Bell became a priority in 2011.
- Since 2012, the Arkansas No Kid Hungry campaign empowered more than 21,000 Arkansas families with the skills, knowledge and confidence to prepare healthy meals on a budget through six-week Cooking Matters courses and grocery store tours.
- In 2016,Cooking Matters classes and grocery store tours brought smart shopping and meal preparation skills to more than 9,000 Arkansas families, and continues to be a contributing partner in the Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Healthy, Active Arkansas 10-Year Plan to improve the health of every Arkansan.
The Alliance Going Forward
With the continued support of the many individuals, businesses and organizations across Arkansas who recognize the effects of hunger on our state’s economy and on our people, the Alliance will remain at the forefront of hunger relief, nutrition education, and advocacy. We will continue working to identify opportunities and partnerships like those we/ve established with Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Arkansas Campaign for Grade Level Reading, Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, Arkansas Hunters Feeding The Hungry, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Arkansas Farm Bureau, Little Rock Park and Recreation, the Arkansas Legislative Hunger Caucus and others to bring reliable sources of food to the hungry of our state, and increase awareness that food insecurity contributes to many of the challenges our state faces. Working together we really can end hunger in the land of plenty.