Pine Bluff faces many challenges that threaten the health and safety of its 41,000 residents. More than one in three children live below the poverty line. Many of them are fostered by grandparents or other relatives because parents are incarcerated at one of the five detention centers in the area or struggling with substance use disorder. A significant number of children have experienced homelessness and hunger. These stressors, along with physical or sexual abuse or neglect, contribute to developmental delays and behavioral problems that put them at high risk for gang violence, drug use and teen pregnancy.
In 2002, Annette Dove founded TOPPS to take on the challenges of her struggling but beloved
community. She and her small but dedicated staff address the area’s most urgent needs by providing healthy meals year-round for low-income families, a wide range of programs for K-12 students that promote academic readiness, leadership skills and volunteerism and community – based programs that support youth and help rebuild Pine Bluff and Jefferson County.