Summer Meals Help Families Like Mine

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In Horatio, Arkansas, summer isn't just about sunny days and family trips to the river; it's a time when the strength of our community really shines through, especially in ensuring that our kids have the meals they need to thrive. 

As a mom of four living with a disability, the logistical challenges of daily tasks like meal preparation can be difficult, particularly when school is out and kids lose access to the meals they get in school.

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We're quite a distance from the nearest grocery store, and our local stores -while convenient - often stock snacks more-so than substantial meal ingredients. This means maintaining a healthy diet for my kids can be tricky without careful planning and a lot of driving, which isn't always possible for me. 

The prices of food also continue to rise at an unmanageable rate. Every time I go to the store, everything is more expensive. I do a lot of couponing to make it work. You often hear people say, “Just pull yourself by your bootstraps!” but your bootstraps only go so far until they break. 

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This is where our community steps in with a summer meal program that becomes a lifeline for families like mine. The flexibility of this program, which allows us to bring meals home, has changed our summers dramatically. It's not just about the food - it's about the time and energy it saves us, which is just as precious. On days when getting out of bed is difficult for health reasons, knowing my kids have access to nutritious meals eases so much worry.

This program matters because it helps not just people with low income - it helps people that have disabilities, parents working two different jobs and parents working split shifts. Their kids matter, and making sure that all these kids have access to the meals they need when school is out for the summer  matters too.

I’m proud of my kids! They are all basically carbon copies of my husband and me. Knowing they have access to summer meals makes me confident they will continue growing and dreaming big. 

My eldest, Samantha, has inherited a sharp sense of humor and a talent for video games that could rival any competitor in e-sports. Her younger sister, Alina, is the artist of the family and brings a creative flair to everything she touches, constantly amazing us with her insightful views on the world. Vivian, our social butterfly, has never met a stranger she couldn’t befriend within minutes. And our youngest, Benson, is just a toddler who's already showing signs of being as determined and joyful as his siblings.

These programs do more than fill bellies - They reassure us that in times of need, we have a network of friends and neighbors who stand ready to support each other. This sense of security is priceless, particularly in a rural area where resources can be sparse and getting help isn't always as simple as it might seem.

As summer approaches us in Arkansas, we celebrate the support systems around us that make these months easier.

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I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has made these summer meal programs possible. Your efforts are truly making a difference in the lives of so many families here in Horatio and across the county. Thank you for keeping my children healthy, happy and ready to learn and grow. 

Ways You Can Help:

Donate:  1 dollar can help provide 10 meals* for kids. Your support will help us fund meal programs all over the country and help us advocate for policies that will help kids get the meals they need"

*Donations help support programs that feed kids; No Kid Hungry does not provide individual meals. Learn more at