According to the River Valley Regional Food Bank, seven out of ten students in the Fort Smith School District receive a free or reduced lunch at school. When school is on break, many of these students do not have an alternative.
"When it comes time for spring break, many of us think about vacations and Disney World, skiing or the beach, but for some kids in this area it boils down to their one dependable meal each day is taken away from them," said Ken Kupchick, Director of Marketing and Development for the River Valley Regional Food Bank.
Kupchick says there are more than 21,000 kids in Sebastian and Crawford counties who receive free or reduced priced meals. "Our children in this area are largely dependent on the meals they receive in schools," he said.
Janine Jamison, Branch Manager at the Windsor Branch of the Fort Smith Public Library, says many of the children who visit the library during school breaks stay all day long.
Kupchick knows his organization cannot feed all the children in need, but he says he hopes to make a difference for a few.
"The gesture is to bring in enough food to give lunch to the kids that are staying here from open til close at the Windsor Branch of the library," he said.
Of the children who visited the Windsor Branch Monday (Mar. 18), Jamison says many wouldn't have had lunch without the donated meal from Golden Corral.
"More than likely not because their parents are at work, and so they're kind of left to their own devices," said Jamison.
Five restaurants will supply food to kids in need at the library this week. In addition to Golden Corral, Golden Living cafeteria, St. John's Sack Lunch program, George's Restaurant and Joe's Cantina.
Kupchick said the restaurants were selected based on their relationship with the food bank and their proximity to the library. He said he made five phone calls and all five said yes.
Alex Catsavis with George's Restaurant says this was an opportunity he couldn't pass up.
"The community helps me, supports me; and I want to support the community," said Catsavis. "I like doing it for the kids. I really do. It's something that I always do, and I'll continue to do it."