Arkansas Hunger

David Monteith / KUAR News

Organizations dedicated to reducing food insecurity in Arkansas have a new partner. Telecommunications company AT&T announced its Believe Arkansas initiative Monday at the state Capitol.

The program includes a donation of $100,000 split among various hunger relief groups across the state. According to a 2017 report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Arkansas ranks second worst in the nation when it comes to food insecurity. The president of the AT&T's Arkansas operations, Ronnie Dedman said that is one reason the company chose to focus on that issue.

City of Little Rock

A donation drive to help furloughed federal workers in Little Rock is scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday. The initiative, known as Little Rock Cares, was started by federal employees at the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport as a way of helping each other during the partial government shutdown.

Airport spokesman Shane Carter said it was expanded to a citywide effort when the needs outstripped the resources of airport employees.

SNAP
Department of Human Services

As the partial federal government shutdown continues, ripple effects are being felt by more than federal employees. Monday the Arkansas Department of Human Services announced that qualified Arkansans will receive their Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits earlier than usual.

The money that allows low-income participants to purchase food is released monthly, and February's allotment will be distributed on January 17, according to DHS spokeswoman Marci Manley.

David Monteith / KUAR news

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.

Lance Cheung/Flickr

Advocates for the hungry in Arkansas are hoping the U.S. Senate’s farm bill will not include House-approved work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program  (SNAP). All four members of Arkansas’s House delegation voted for the $867 billion farm bill, which requires most able-bodied adults work 20 hours per week or enroll in job training in order to keep food benefits.

Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance Director Kathy Webb worries the work requirement will end up harming those that SNAP is supposed to benefit.

David Monteith / KUAR News

A turnip garden in Little Rock marked the site of a major milestone for reducing hunger in Arkansas Monday.

The Arkansas Gleaning Project celebrated its 10 millionth pound of gleaned produce by harvesting turnips from the Western Hills Park Garden. Michelle Shope, with the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, said The Arkansas Gleaning Project has fed hundreds of thousands of people since its inception in 2008.

USDA / United States Department of Agriculture

A group hoping to address the food insecurity, which affects nearly 1 in 5 Arkansans, is scheduled to stop in Little Rock this weekend.

The “This Is Hunger” exhibit, most recently in Fayetteville, began its nationwide tour in California in late 2016. Little Rock will be the 47th stop in the 35th city in the 25th state of the tour.