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Arkansas Hunger Hero SiKia Brent-Brown


Arkansas has a childhood hunger problem, and SiKia Brent-Brown is on a mission to do something about it. SiKia is the Out of School Programs Director for the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance’s No Kid Hungry Campaign, where she works in communities across the state to help build sustainable feeding programs for kids in need.


SiKia’s parents grew up poor in the small town of Dermott in the Arkansas Delta where they picked and chopped cotton. They worked hard to provide a better life for SiKia and her siblings. Consequently, SiKia’s advocacy started when she was small with her parents stressing to her that when you are blessed you should be a blessing to others.

Hunger became personal to SiKia a few years ago when she found herself divorced and struggling financially with two young children. She had a demoralizing experience while applying for food assistance, and a light bulb went off in her head. She finally understood the domino effect that leads people into poverty and hunger. Fortunately for SiKia, she found a job and returned to college. Later she was hired to work at DHS in the same position as the first rude caseworker she had. She made a promise to herself to always remember how she felt and not treat her clients that way. It’s one of the reasons why SiKia is so passionate about addressing child hunger and the factors that lead to it – because she has seen the view from both sides of the desk.


“Here in the South food is almost synonymous with love: we use food from birth to death as an expression of our love, and as sure as I know that every child no matter their circumstance is worthy of love, I know that every child no matter their current circumstance should have access to food.” – SiKia Brent-Brown

Since 2010 when the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance first began its No Kid Hungry campaign, Arkansas has fallen from #1 in child hunger to currently 9th in the nation. However, even with all the progress, 18 percent of families with children in Arkansas still struggle to afford enough food for their families (FRAC Food Hardship Report, 2016). One of the biggest pieces of the No Kid Hungry strategy was to ensure that kids who only had access to a healthy breakfast and lunch during the school year also had access to nutritious meals outside of school hours and during the summer months, a really vulnerable time for children and families dealing with food insecurity.


In addition to the programs that SiKia manages, the Alliance has a nutrition education program called Cooking Matters (shopping and preparing healthy meals on a budget), a SNAP Outreach team helping eligible seniors and families access nutrition benefits, and the Arkansas Gleaning Project in which partner farmers share the remains of their fresh produce harvest with area food banks.

You can visit their website www.arhungeralliance.org to find out how you can help support these great programs and our mission “to reduce hunger and improve access to nutritious food by providing tools and resources, empowerment, advocacy, education and research.”


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Arkansas Women Blogger member Stacey Valley is a wife, mom of four girls (two by marriage and two by adoption), and public health professional. She adores her interracial, real-life modern family, and is thankful that her husband Anthony loves her kind of crazy. Cooking is her therapy. She dreams of moving to Italy one day, so you can often find her binging on House Hunters International. Stacey’s life motto is "Live big. Love deep." which is also the name of her blog.

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