This week, the Arkansas Rice Federation announced it will donate 240,000 pounds of rice to the Arkansas Food Bank.
That is the equivalent of 1.8 million servings and will go a long way to help alleviate hunger in every county of the state.
September is both Arkansas Rice Month and Hunger Action Month.
Hunger Action Month is a time when people, organizations, and communities come together to raise awareness about hunger and take steps to combat it.
The Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance estimates that 22.5% of Arkansas households and 1 out of every 3 children in the state are facing food insecurity.
The USDA defines food insecurity as a lack of consistent access to enough food for every person in a household to live an active, healthy life. This can be a temporary situation for a family or can last a long time.
The Arkansas General Assembly worked to address childhood hunger in the 2023 Regular Session by passing Act 656. This act requires the Department of Education to provide federal funds disbursed for purposes of funding child nutrition programs to each public school that serves a school breakfast or a school lunch to cover the cost of eliminating reduced-price copayments and requires the department to use funds to provide a school breakfast or a school lunch if federal funds appropriated to the department for child nutrition programs are insufficient. The act also requires the department to provide an annual report that includes an overview of each child nutrition program offered in public schools.
We will continue to review ways to reduce food insecurity in our state. This is a perfect time for all of us to take action. By raising awareness, donating or volunteering at our local food banks, and engaging with our communities, we can work together to ensure no Arkansan goes hungry.