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First Lady Ginger Beebe to kick off summer meals program | News

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First Lady Ginger Beebe to kick off summer meals program
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (June 14, 2012) -- First Lady Ginger Beebe, in partnership with the Arkansas No Kid Hungry® campaign, joined with the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS), the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, Share Our Strength, and a diverse group of elected officials, community organizations and corporate leaders to kick off the Arkansas Summer Food Service Program at Penick Boys & Girls Club in Little Rock today, June 14 at at 10:00 a.m.

Please RSVP to Nancy Conley at nconley@arhungeralliance.org. Event will include children participating in the summer meals program; photos of children having fun and eating lunch; a tour of the facility lead by First Lady Ginger Beebe. Ample parking is available on site.

The campaign is working to connect more area kids and teens to free summer meals by raising awareness about the program and making it easier for families to gain access to one of hundreds of summer meals sites across the state.

For many kids, summertime means food, friends and fun. For families who count on school breakfast and lunch, however, the summer months can be stressful with family food budgets being stretched even further than usual.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers free summer meals to children and teens, ages 18 and younger, who come to a summer meals site, and many sites offer learning and recreational activities.

Share Our Strength's Center for Best Practices reports that in Arkansas, only 14 percent of children who receive a free or reduced-price lunch participated in free summer meal programs in 2011.

The Arkansas No Kid Hungry campaign and the Arkansas DHS are working to increase access to and awareness about the availability of summer meals and make certain that no child goes hungry this summer.

Lack of awareness about the program, stigma, getting kids to a site that is near them and gaining parents' trust are just a few of the barriers families face according to recent focus groups conducted by Share Our Strength. Families may call 1-888-4KID4AR, go to DHS.Arkansas.gov/DCCECE/SNP/or text "FoodAR" to 877-877 to find a site near them.

The Arkansas No Kid Hungry campaign is generously sponsored by lead sponsor Walmart, sponsor Weight Watchers® and supporter Tyson Foods.

(Source: Arkansas Department of Human Services)

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