120 North 13th Street
Fort Smith, AR, 72901

For Immediate Release:                                                                                    

United Way Partner Agencies in Action Feeding Children

(Fort Smith, AR- May 7, 2020) United Way of Fort Smith Area, in partnership with their community partner agency the Community Services Clearinghouse, held a youth agency food distribution on Friday, May 8th.  United Way agencies that are providing supplemental nutrition to children during the COVID-19 pandemic came to the Community Services Clearinghouse, located at 4420 Wheeler Ave, to receive their disbursement.

Tami Kuhns, Executive Director of the Community Services Clearinghouse added, “We were very concerned when the schools started closing on how we would continue to provide food to kids on our program for the weekend feeding, the Meals for kids Backpack Program provides food to 2200 kids every week, in 142 schools. In conversation with United Way and our board of directors, we decided the best way we could help during this pandemic and still reach children that were in need was to team up with Boys and Girls Clubs including Girls Inc. and donate backpack food. To date, we have already donated 5000 Backpacks of food at a cost of $ 20,000 retail. Today we will continue with phase 3 of donations, this donation is largest yet, over $ 48,000 retail that will be going out to help with weekend feeding at many youth agencies under the United Way umbrella. Teaming up with the Boys and Girls clubs was a no brainer; they are feeding many of the same kids that are on our program. The most important thing is making sure the children are being fed, no matter what the process is, we need to get the food into those little hands.”

Since the beginning of COVID 19 in March, United Way has been in weekly communication with their youth agencies about their needs, especially feeding children. Currently, 7 United Way Partner Agencies have been feeding 1560 children on the weekends throughout the River Valley. The totals for weekly backpacks are as follows:


Boys and Girls Club of LeFlore County                                         100               

Boys and Girls Club of Diamond Hills                                           280

Boys and Girls Club of Fort Smith                                                 500

Boys and Girls Club of South Logan County                                400

Boys and Girls Club of Sequoyah County                                     110

Boys and Girls Club of Van Buren                                                 100

Girls Inc.                                                                                            70


 “We are so thankful for the vision and work of the Community Services Clearinghouse. ‘United Way Partner Agencies Feeding Children’ is another great example of how our agencies are working together. We are very proud to bring together so many of our youth organizations along with the Community Services Clearinghouse to better supply our children and families with needed food for the weekend. We greatly appreciate Tami Kuhns and the Community Services Clearinghouse for providing backpacks for each of the organizations during this time of COVID 19”, said Eddie Lee Herndon, President and CEO, United Way of Fort Smith Area.

In addition, United Way has awarded $12,000 in micro grants for COVID 19 and will be awarding another $25,000 in grants next week that will be specifically for feeding those in need, for a total of $37,000 in grants thus far.