Little Rock is getting help in its fight against childhood hunger. On Monday officials announced a $139,500 grant had been awarded to the city by the Food Research Action Center and the National League of Cities.
Mayor Mark Stodola said the efforts of multiple partners helped Little Rock become one of six cities nationwide to receive the grant.
"We clearly were able to win this grant because of the real dedicated efforts that this city has shown and exhibited over the course of the last several years," Stodola said. "Whether it’s [the] No Kids Hungry Campaign, whether it’s Cooking Matters, whether it’s Love Your School – a great partnership dealing with the nutrition of our elementary children with the Little Rock School District, whether it’s our summer enrichment program, where we take care of 1,600 kids during the summertime; I think it was a pretty compelling grant."
The 18-month grant will be run through the Central Arkansas Library System. Officials say they currently serve nearly 1,000 meals per week through out of school feeding program.
Sikia Brown of the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance said one goal of the grant is to help children get to locations where meals are being served.
"Transportation is the biggest barrier to summer and after school meals, so we hope with this implementation of the grant it’ll expand access to kids to have a place for summer and after school meals, and a safe place," Brown said.
Similar grants were awarded to five other cities around the country. Stodola is the current president of the National League of Cities.