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First Assembly of God NLR launches project to feed Ark. hungry kids | Community Spirit

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First Assembly of God NLR launches project to feed Ark. hungry kids
First Assembly of God NLR launches project to feed Ark. hungry kids

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (First Assembly of God Church) - The First Assembly of God Church in North Little Rock, pastored by Reverend Rod Loy, launched a 10-week campaign to feed hungry children in xentral Arkansas on Feb. 1, 2015.

According to recent studies by child hunger experts:

·       Arkansas is the hungriest state in America.  Last year, 21.2 percent of households were at risk of hunger.

·       111,771 students in Arkansas qualify for free lunch (23.5 percent of all school children).  For many of them, the only full meal they get is at school. 

·       1 in 5 school children in Arkansas don’t have an adequate meal when they go home at night.

·       28.4 percent of children in Arkansas are food insecure – meaning consistent access to adequate food is limited by a lack of money and other resources. 

·       Arkansas has the 4th highest poverty rate in the country – over 19 percent of Arkansans lived in poverty in 2013. 

·       More than 1 in 4 Arkansas children are living in poverty, including 60,708 children under the age of 5. 

“Every child in Arkansas deserves access to food.  We can’t simply sit back and do nothing.  That’s how the “Share Your Lunch” project began,” said Pastor Loy.

The “Share Your Lunch” project revolves around two specific approaches to feeding the hungry.

Part One is a feeding initiative through an Arkansas based company Pack Shack.  Pack Shack was founded by Bret Raymond and is based in Rogers, Arkansas.  Their program packs nutritious meals based on rice, soy protein, dehydrated vegetables and 19 vitamins and minerals.   The cost of each Pack Shack meal is $.25.  FirstNLR and its campuses took an offering on February 1, 2015 to purchase these meals.  To date, over $80,000 was collected enabling the church to provide over 352,000 meals!  These meals will be assembled and distributed at the FirstNLR campus on Sunday, March 8, 2015.   For more information on Pack Shack, visit www.thepackshack.org

Over 1,300 volunteers will assemble these meals on Sunday from 3 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Over 25 organizations and food banks across the state are receiving donations from FirstNLR through Pack Shack, including:

Arkansas Rice Depot                                 Compassion Center    

Arkansas Food Bank                                  Arkansas Children’s Hospital

Friendly Chapel                                           North Little Rock School District

El Zocalo Immigrant Resource Center    Helping Hands

Watershed                                                    His Place His Way

Sold Food Café                                            Vilonia School District

Lonoke School District                               Lonoke Family Services Center

Fountain Lake School                                Jessieville School District

LISA Academy                                             

Part Two of “Share Your Lunch” is a church wide food drive.  From Feb. 8 to  April 5, the church is collecting food for hungry children.  Using requests from various food banks and pantries across the state, nine items have been targeted for collection.  While no food will be turned away, each week a different item will be collected at FirstNLR. The goal for church members was to bring 10 tons of food over the course of the initiative.

One month into the initiative, over 29,070 pounds of food has been collected!

“Our goal was 1 ton, but we are already to 14.5 tons!  It’s an amazing start!  Social media sites are filled with pictures of families shopping for food items.  It’s amazing to see what is happening” said Pastor Rod Loy.

All food collected will be distributed to hospitals, schools, food banks and pantries in Arkansas.  New recipients are being added weekly as food becomes available.  A list of these groups is available upon request.

Since the launch of “Share Your Lunch” numerous organizations and groups have joined with First Assembly.  “Every day, more people are joining us!  A huge thank you to Sherwood Neighborhood Market, NLR Police, LISA Academy, NLR School District, Crye-Leike Reality, Southwest Christian Academy and Arkansas Children’s Hospital who have committed to help! Every week more groups are telling us they want to participate with Share Your Lunch!”

People interested in participating with Share Your Lunch are encouraged to visit the website www.firstnlr.com/shareyourlunch or contact FirstNLR at 501-758-8553 and ask for Patrick Lander. 

First Assembly of God has campuses in North Little Rock, Vilonia, Lonoke, Southwest Little Rock and Hot Springs Village.  All of the campuses are participating.