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We like to think hunger is not much of a problem in Northwest Arkansas. But it is.

In the Bentonville School District alone, we have approximately 4,200 students who qualify for free- and reduced-price lunches. We also have more than 1,200 students who receive SnackPacks with food for the weekend each Friday from the Samaritan Community Center's SnackPack for Kids program. More than 8,500 students in Northwest Arkansas receive SnackPacks each week. This is truly heartbreaking.

For the past four years, I've challenged our community to support Samaritan Community Center's SnackPacks for Kids program by donating items. Last February, the Hunger is Heartbreaking campaign collected nearly $10,000 in food and monetary donations for SnackPacks. This year, I believe we can do even better. Through Feb. 12, I'm asking you to bring pudding cups, fruit cups, juice boxes, soup, fruit chews, graham crackers, macaroni and cheese, and peanut-free snacks in individual packages to your school site or the District Administration Building at 500 Tiger Boulevard. I'll collect the donations in my office.

To help increase the amount of donations, I promise to work from the roof of the Bentonville Schools Administration Building if my office fills with donations. But wait, there's more -- I'll work on the roof on the coldest day in February!

This presented a problem: Just when is the coldest day in February?

Fortunately, I have access to some of the best solution finders in the nation, and I contacted David Engle at Sugar Creek Elementary to see if his fourth-graders wanted to take on this project. Let me tell you, they jumped at the opportunity to put a bald guy on the roof on the coldest day in February.

I barely finished presenting the challenge when the questions began. Was I looking for the snowiest or coldest day? Would it be OK if they combined moisture and temperature? Could we factor in wind chill? And perhaps the most loaded question of all: Can we take this home for homework and ask our parents to help? I'm thinking to myself at this point that, in the middle of recommending a new calendar and attendance boundaries, I'm sure these kids will find plenty of support from parents to put me in the deep freeze. The collaboration between students, parents and teacher concluded that the coldest day in February will be the 19th.

As a Rotarian, I look for ways to incorporate service into my personal, business and community life. One of the causes our local club supports throughout the year is the SnackPack for Kids program. I'm proud to be a part of this group, and I am proud we devote our efforts all year to assist those who are food insecure. I know they will be doing their best to make sure I'm shivering on the roof come Feb. 19.

So help get me up on the roof. Next time you're shopping, pick up an item or two from the list above. If we all do a little, it will mean a lot to a child who is hungry. Hunger might be heartbreaking, but helping will warm your heart. I know it will mine. Especially on the 19th, when I'm on the roof on the coldest day in February.

NAN Our Town on 02/04/2016

Print Headline: Cold forecast for superintendent's program to fight hunger

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