Friday, August 25, 2017

EDITORIAL >> Feeding kids after school

The Jacksonville community sprang into action Thursday and Friday after learning in these pages that its beloved Boys and Girls Club wasn’t serving after-school meals.

The Department of Human Services suspended food deliveries to the club until DHS approves the Arkansas Food Bank as the club’s new food vendor. That could take until October, leaving hungry dozens of kids.

Clinton McDonald, a Super Bowl champion now playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, donated $1,000 through his McDonald and Associates Collective Collaboration-Light Into Darkness Foundation, known as MACCLID, which hosts youth football camps and other outreach programs.

McDonald spent a lot of time at the 48-year-old club while growing up. We’ve always admired his civic engagement and look forward to the Bucs’ opening day against the Miami Dolphins on Sept. 10.

The Jacksonville Lions Club also gave $500 to the effort.

Brian Blevins, who owns the Game Store, reached out to several businesses that pledged to help the Boys and Girls Club feed its members.

Thanks to Blevins, Subway will give sandwiches to all the kids Monday. Papa John’s is donating 60 pizzas over four days in the next few weeks. Domino’s will give free pizzas to the club on at least one day.

Blevins also helped get donations from Coca-Cola, Golden Eagle, New Age Distributing, Blue Bell Ice Cream, Highland Dairy and Centennial Bank. If you want to thank him in person, his shop hosts a free family games event from noon till midnight every Saturday.

After-school meals aren’t snacks. They’re important sources of daily nutrition. They include a serving of meat, a vegetable, a fresh fruit, milk and water.

One in six children face hunger in America — that’s about 13 million youngsters who could go without an afternoon or evening meal.

If they go to school, they can count on a nutritious breakfast or lunch. If they belong to their local Boys and Girls Club, they’re likely to eat a healthy meal in the afternoon, unless the bureaucrats cut off their food program because of red tape, sending more children to bed hungry.

Arkansas is near the top when it comes to food security for people of all ages, especially youngsters and seniors. Fortunately, older folks get Meals on Wheels and can visit senior centers.

But youngsters are often overlooked away from school. That’s where the Jacksonville Boys and Girls Club does a world of good, along with the fine folks who have heard of the club’s plight and have donated money and food to make sure our children don’t go hungry.

Donations to the Jacksonville Boys and Girls Club can be made online at

If you don’t have dinner plans Monday, Chili’s in Jacksonville will donate 10 percent of every diner’s bill to the Boys and Girls Club from 5 till 9 p.m. You must bring a flyer available on the club’s Facebook page.

We thank you for making a difference.