I ave two small kids, and I’m in the business of feeding people, and the thought of kids in the state of Arkansas being hungry and going to school hungry is just crazy to me.”
Matt McClure, the head chef at The Hive inside 21c Museum Hotel in Bentonville, points to staggering data on the state’s food insecurity. The national average for food insecure children is one in six. In Arkansas, that number is one in four. And while “food insecure” may sound like a soft term, what it realistically means is that some 163,800 children in Arkansas, according to feedingamerica.org, do not have consistent access to enough food to live a healthy life.
For the fourth consecutive year, McClure and The Hive will host the Bentonville No Kid Hungry dinner on Monday to raise funds for the NKH national campaign. The idea behind the campaign, McClure says, is that child hunger is a solvable issue, one step at a time. The sold-out fundraising dinner, put together by nationally renowned guest chefs, raised enough money in 2018 alone to provide 929,860 healthy meals and benefit local organizations Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, Bentonville Public Schools and the Food Bank of North Central Arkansas.
“These kids come to school, they’re hungry, they’re not in a good mood, they’re prone to be disruptive, and they get in trouble,” McClure recalls of a service trip he worked with NKH. “The amount of behavioral issues just plummeted when everybody started eating breakfast, and they’re focused on their education. So, by addressing one issue, you’re addressing a lot of issues, and just by providing breakfast, you can dramatically change the trajectory of these young people’s lives.
“Just that little piece of knowledge for me makes it even more important for the dinner that I’m cooking and trying to support Arkansas,” McClure concludes. “If it’s just breakfast these kids need to be able to have a bright future, that’s good for their community, that’s good for the state of Arkansas that’s just so wins.”
No Kid Hungry Dinner
WHEN — 5:30 p.m. Monday WHERE — The Hive in 21c
Museum Hotel, Bentonville COST — Sold out INFO — nokidhungry.org/