Nearly one in five (21.2 percent) Arkansas residents live in households that can’t always afford enough food, but the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) funds a toll-free hotline to make it easier for them to access food from both private and governmental resources.
The hotline can be reached at 1-866-3-HUNGRY or 1-877-8-HAMBRE (for Spanish) from Monday through Friday (8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET). The New York City Coalition Against Hunger (NYCCAH), which is operating the hotline nationwide as part of a USDA National Hunger Clearinghouse contract, has just launched a coast-to-coast outreach campaign to increase the use of the hotline.
The National Hunger Hotline staff connects callers with emergency food providers in their community, government assistance, nutritional assistance programs, and various services that promote self-sufficiency. During summer months, the hotline provides information about meal sites where children 18 years old and under can get free, nutritious meals through the USDA Summer Food Service Program.
Agriculture Under Secretary Kevin Concannon highlights the importance of the hotline in the fight against hunger. "USDA’s nutrition assistance programs provide a nutrition safety net, helping to put food on the table in households across America. And the toll-free hotline is there for those in need to access this assistance, as well as help provided by private resources."
New York City Coalition Against Hunger Executive Director Joel Berg said, "If you’re hungry or at risk of hunger, it can be a daunting task to obtain food and benefits. The hunger hotline can immediately help connect families with food providers in their area. We are starting a national awareness campaign and want to make sure that people who need help can get it quickly and easily."