I’m so excited to host one of my friends from Samaritan Community Center on the blog today. I learned about the amazing work of this organization after I moved to Northwest Arkansas. While I support hunger efforts around the world in multiple ways, I’m continually amazed at the issue right here in my back yard. Washington and Benton Counties consistently rank in the top 5 “hungriest” counties in our state. Juxtapose that with the income by county and you will find a significant discrepancy. Thankfully, the businesses in our area are great supporters and contributors to those making the greatest impact…but I love even more that its a place the everyday person can make an exponential impact! So excited about the opportunity they are sharing below!!!
One out of every four children in Northwest Arkansas face the physical, emotional and behavioral challenges
related to hunger and food insecurity. Studies have shown that in addition to anxiety, hunger has long-term consequences on children’s health, education and futures. Hunger directly affects the health and well-being of children including recurring illness, obesity, depression, and other chronic health issues. Children that suffer from food insecurity often experience limited intellectual and social development, higher rates of absenteeism, and higher healthcare costs. As the children age, these issues compound and often carry on into adulthood along with poor financial attainment.
The evidence is overwhelming. But we can’t simply toss this over to the growing mound of depressing news. One in four means in your child’s classroom, there are likely five students unable to concentrate in class because an empty tummy demands their attention. It means the person sitting behind you at church has an empty fridge at home. It means your coworker is sacrificing their lunch so their family can have enough food to stretch until the beginning of the month when they get more food stamps. And it’s not just certain schools or neighborhoods. It is every single school in Benton, Washington, Carroll and Madison Counties. Every day, over 25,000 stories of childhood hunger are happening in our community. How do we honor and redeem these stories?
Samaritan Community Center serves these at-risk children through their Snackpacks for Kids program which provides weekly nutritional support to over 7,500 children ranging from preschool to high school. While this program allows children to arrive at school on Monday morning healthy, attentive and eager to learn, we know that some of their greatest allies are their friends and school community. How do we equip their classmates to join us in the fight? How do we instill compassion in them that will empower them to encourage their friends to hope and dream beyond their circumstances?
It takes a community committed to bringing awareness in a way that children are able to relate and respond. A community similar to the one found in Maddi’s Fridge, a children’s storybook that encourages children to “help friends who have empty refrigerators.” This relevant resource can truly empower a generation to aid in the fight against childhood hunger.
Will you join me in supporting Samaritan Community Center’s desire to share this book with children across NWA? Their goal is to have two copies of Maddi’s Fridge in every elementary school library in Benton, Washington, Carroll and Madison Counties (164 books total). You can donate online through May 10 at www.purecharity.com/scc-books. A simple $10 donation will purchase one book while $20 will supply one school library and $250 will empower an entire school district! You can even select your gift to go towards a specific school. Can you imagine the next generation fired up to tackle hunger?!?!
Let’s do this, friends!
ABOUT SAMARITAN COMMUNITY CENTER
Samaritan Community Center has served Northwest Arkansas since 1989, originally as a local church outreach and since 2002, as an independent, non-profit organization. Our mission as a grace-driven organization is to serve the hurting and hungry through a compassionate community of staff and volunteers. Using a relational approach to operations, we encourage client families to access multiple services to meet immediate physical needs (food, clothing, health care) and to work with our licensed social workers and counselors to make positive change towards financial independence and healthier lives. For more information, visit us at www.samcc.org or on Facebook or call us at 479.636.4198.