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Californian’s now facing a pair of wildfires; Also on the Tuesday rundown: Higher education in New Jersey: a racial split; plus food resources still available despite the “public charge” proposal.

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Summer Nutrition Checkup for Arkansas Kids

GRAPHIC: A report on Summer Nutrition Programs shows Arkansas has seen success in making sure low-income children are served healthy meals when school lunchroom is closed. Image courtesy of U.S. Department of Agriculture.
GRAPHIC: A report on Summer Nutrition Programs shows Arkansas has seen success in making sure low-income children are served healthy meals when school lunchroom is closed. Image courtesy of U.S. Department of Agriculture.
July 16, 2014

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Arkansas is at the front of the line for healthy summer meals for students.

The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) says in a new report the state boosted its participation rate in the Summer Nutrition Program by 39 percent last year, and is on track for record summer servings this year.

Signe Anderson, senior child nutrition policy analyst at FRAC, says top-performing states offer mobile meals – going to where the children are spending their time.

"Oftentimes kids are in parks and they're outside, and ideally, that's where you want them to be, is outside and active and in a safe space," she explains.

The report shows Arkansas reaches more than one in five students during the summer who normally receive free or reduced-price lunches during the school year.

Even with summer vacation half-over, it isn't too late for children to pick up a meal.

Anderson says some of the feeding sites reaching the most students are offered through churches, YMCAs, parks and recreation departments and Boys and Girls Clubs.

"You know, they have the programming and the structure there, during the summertime when they're not in school, to do activities in addition to the meal,” she says.

There's no paperwork required for summer meals and no questions are asked, and there are sites in almost every Arkansas county.



Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - AR