Little Rock, Arkansas–Holiday times can be challenging for those who cannot afford food. The Arkansas Foodbank steps in to help Arkansans by providing food to over 400 community partners to reach those who experience hunger.
Arkansas ranks second in the nation for hunger. “Nearly 18% of Arkansans who live in the Foodbank service area do not know how they will get their next meal,” according to Emily Gassman, Communications Director, with the Arkansas Foodbank.
The Foodbank serves over 280,000 Arkansans in 33 counties in Central and Southern Arkansas each year. The Foodbank does this by securing donations from food and grocery industries, government agencies, individuals and other organizations.
Gassman told Arkansas Post, “The face of hunger in Arkansas might be surprising to you. It looks like a single mother who is working two jobs, trying to make ends meet. It looks like a senior on a fixed income who needs to pay bills and eat this month. It looks like a child at school who is dreading Christmas break because they won’t be getting breakfast and lunch each day. It might look like your neighbor, your co-worker, or even your friends.”
“The holidays can be hard for those who are struggling to put food on the table. This time of year, our pantries see an increase in visits, so we are sure to get as much food out to them as we can. We also collect holiday specific food items like sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes and gravy, to make sure that everyone has access to traditional holiday food items,” stated Gassman.
The Arkansas Foodbank is a warehouse and distribution center located in southwest Little Rock. In 2018, they distributed over 27 million pounds of food to those in need. Four million pounds of that was fresh produce. Food is distributed by volunteers at food pantries, youth programs, senior centers, schools and college campuses. The Foodbank has had 12,197 volunteers so far this year.
People looking to volunteer with the Arkansas Foodbank can visit arkansasfoodbank.org