CALS Takes a Mighty Step to Reduce Youth Hunger
In the past twelve months, Be Mighty Little Rock has created an unprecedented partnership of many organizations across Little Rock in order to help kids, teens, and their families. Our staff here at CALS administered the program, and with the help of crucial partners, Be Mighty connected kids and teens with nutritious meals after school and throughout the summer months.
Be Mighty meal sites serve young people all year round, but summer months are a special high-risk time for food insecurity. Kids who ordinarily get much of their nutrition through school meals during the school year may face family challenges during the summer that leave them hungry. So we were excited to find that our CALS meals sites had served an amazing 50 percent more summer meals this year to make sure kids stayed healthy all summer! We are thankful to our partners at the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, the Little Rock School District, and the city Parks and Recreation department for making this campaign possible.
Be Mighty METRO program helps families in need
A major help to many families was a new Be Mighty LR partnership with Rock Region METRO that allowed many families with transportation challenges to get to the meal sites where food was being served. CALS distributed 1,200 Be Mighty METRO passes that provided kids, teens, and caregivers unlimited rides on any Rock Region METRO Route from June 1-July 31 resulting in 16,792 rides.
CALS staffer Kay Kay DeRossette coordinated the program and was delighted by the results. “It meant a lot to hear from parents that the Be Mighty program had helped their kids and teens so much. It wasn’t just the healthy food, but also the access to transportation that helped families get to the grocery store, the way the kids started asking for fruits and vegetables at home, and the way some families said that the whole summer was better because the kids were out doing active programs instead of sitting in front of digital screens all day. That was exactly what we had hoped Be Mighty would do for our local young people.”
Families loved our end-of-summer celebration at War Memorial Splash Pad, which featured a cookout, sprinklers, the LR Fire Department, and team sports, games, and dances. It was the perfect way to end an epic summer for the Be Mighty kids!
After-School Meals at CALS Library Branches
Be Mighty Little Rock is a citywide campaign to connect kids and teens 18 and under to free meals and make sure no young person goes hungry. After-school meals are offered at several CALS branches, as well as other locations throughout Little Rock. To help children stay active and learn, activities such as cooking, reading, or exercise programs and games are offered at meal sites.
Be Mighty LR is currently looking for volunteers interested in facilitating nutrition literacy curriculum at after-school meal sites this fall. All after-school meal sites are required to offer enrichment activities with their meal program, so your volunteer help is vital to help us keep feeding young people.
For more information, visit BeMightyLittleRock.org