Coronavirus Response: “This Has Been a Real Eye-Opener”

With schools closed for the pandemic, assistant principal Carrie Futtrell could not get a hold of a tiny first-grader’s family.

The family didn’t have a phone.

Finally, Futtrell got an address. She and another Mountain View School District colleague negotiated the rain-sogged dirt roads and deep wooded hollers of their northern Arkansas community until they arrived at an isolated trailer.

They knocked. And they waited.

“We could hear things going on in the house,” she said. “The little boy looked out the window but dropped the blinds and took off running. Finally, here came a grandfather with a walker. He was struggling just to get to the door.”

She offered the young boy’s classwork and a sack of meals.

Volunteers in masks pack school buses with sacks of food alongside a wooded road.

“The man thanked me and thanked me and said, ‘It's been hard.’ I don't know if they had help otherwise,” she shared. “The little boy stood behind his grandfather, peeking around and looking in the sack.”

This boy represents just one of the many children that Futtrell and her team have rallied to feed and educate kids during this crisis.

Every Monday, they distribute 825 meals to hungry children through school and community feeding sites as well as home deliveries across the rural counties of Stone and Baxter.

While she was a social worker prior to her more than 20 years as an educator, many of her teachers and colleagues are seeing their students in a new light as they visit their homes.

“This has been a real eye-opener for some of our teachers to see how some of these kids are living,” she said. “It puts things in perspective of how they come to school on a daily basis.”

Thankfully, Futtrell and her team are not alone in their work, and neither is No Kid Hungry in supporting them.

Through our partnership with actors Jennifer Garner, Amy Adams and Save the Children, #SAVEWITHSTORIES is bringing together celebrities from Ellen DeGeneres to Jimmy Fallon to read books to kids on Instagram, and it’s raising funds to help feed them too.

People in face masks stand behind an SUV that they're loading with sacks of food.

In fact, thousands of generous individuals across the nation have donated to fuel funds and resources to support schools and community groups from West Virginia to Washington state and everywhere in between.

And Futtrell has put the funds to good, and much-needed, use.

“We were able to buy a small SUV that we pack meals in,” she said. “Some of these places that we have to go to are pretty rough. It's raining here, and if you don't have a four-wheel drive, you can get stuck.”

She’s grateful to all who made this new gift possible.

“Without you, this wouldn't happen. If it wasn't for people like you, we would not be able to help others,” she shared. “I truly appreciate it, and our community appreciates it. We’re very grateful for No Kid Hungry, Save the Children and their donors.”

Still, she has the strongest praise to heap on what she calls her “generous community” – the colleagues and volunteers fording the muddy roads and deep hollers to reach kids who otherwise might go hungry.

“We have so many great people who work with us,” she said. “They have a drive about 'em. They're very self-motivated. You don't even have to ask them. They just step up.”


Help us support programs like Futtrell’s feeding kids in communities coast to coast during this crisis and in the recovery to follow. Learn more about No Kid Hungry's coronavirus response.