This year the Arkansas Foodbank’s Hunger Heroes will look a bit different, but the goal — fighting childhood hunger — remains at the heart of this year’s program. According to the Foodbank, “1 in 4 children are facing hunger, and because of the pandemic, that number is expected to rise.” To expand participation in their annual program, your child will have the opportunity to sign up for the program, instead of being nominated. Another change: most of the components, like the kick-off and wrap-up parties, will be virtual. 

Super Helpful: The Arkansas Foodbank Food For Kids Program

Hunger Heroes supports Arkansas Foodbank’s program Food For Kids. “Unfortunately, over 87,000 children in Central and South Arkansas are food insecure, meaning they aren’t sure when or where their next meal will come from,” shared Lea Whitlock, Arkansas Foodbank Communications Director. “We are working to answer questions such as: If a child is food insecure, how often do they have nutritious snacks or meals when they are not in school? How can we make sure children have access to nutritious food at night, on weekends, holidays and during the summer?” Based on this research, Hunger Heroes supports three sub-programs that have proven most effective in ending childhood hunger: backpacks, school pantries and summer feeding. 

How to Get Involved

Is the Hunger Hero living in your house feeling inspired? Here’s how to soar into action: 

1. Sign up between January 11 and January 22. Here’s the link to get started.

2. Find the right division and goal. This year, the program will feature three groups: 

  • Kids Division – Ages 5-11 | Fundraising goal: $500 = 2,500 meals
  • Junior Division – Ages 12-18 | Fundraising goal: $1,000 = 5,000 meals
  • Team Division – any age group combination (School team, sports teams, school clubs, etc.) | Fundraising goal: $2,000 = 10,000 meals

3. Mark your calendar for the fundraising kick-off, special volunteer events and more.  

  • Feb. 9: Attend the virtual kick-off event to celebrate the first day of fundraising!
  • Feb. 20: Hunger Heroes can attend a special volunteer event at Arkansas Foodbank.
  • Mar. 5: This is the last day Hunger Heroes accept donations.
  • Mar. 11: Virtual wrap-up celebration. The person/group that collects the most donations in their division will win a prize pack!
  • September: All Hunger Heroes will be invited to join the Arkansas Foodbank for a Food For Kids Pack-a-thon. 
  • December: Hunger Heroes can also join the Foodbank to help pack backpacks with food they helped fund through Hunger Heroes.

4. Start fundraising. Be creative! Your Hero can host a bake sale, collect change at your school or get family and community members involved. We asked the Foodbank for some of the best ideas they’ve seen over the years, and we’ve gotta say: we’re inspired! 

  • “Last year six students at Hardin Elementary in Redfield challenged their school (K-5) to a Penny War. Each grade level had their own jug for collecting money. To gain points, students added pennies and bills to their grade level’s jug. To lower other grade’s jugs they added any silver coins to their jugs. This was a great was to raise awareness within the school and the students loved the competition. The grade with the most points after the two weeks got to slime their principal.” 
  • “Other Hunger Heroes have asked their teacher to host an ‘Anti-Complaint Day.’ Any time a classmate complains during that day they must put a nickel or quarter in a jar. At the end of the day that money is donated to the Hunger Heroes campaign.”

5. Learn more about the Hunger Heroes program here

6. Don’t stop here! We asked the Foodbank for even more ways that Little Rock families can support their efforts. 

  • “While volunteer opportunities are limited to keep everyone safe, there are still opportunities for families to give their time by sorting and packing food. To learn more about Foodbank volunteer opportunities for families, visit the Arkansas Foodbank website
  • “Every dollar provided to the Foodbank provides food for FIVE meals. Families can get creative as they consider giving back by getting your whole crew involved. Whether that’s donating change earned for doing extra chores, competition between siblings or inviting your extended family to match your donation. As we all spend more time at home to slow the spread of COVID-19, consider how your family can make a BIG difference in the lives of our neighbors facing hunger.”