Criteria for Membership

Become an Agency

Arkansas Foodbank member agencies are on-the-ground food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters that provide direct services in their communities. The Foodbank has close to 300 partner agencies across our 33-county service area. Several factors are taken into consideration when selecting organizations for membership, including existing food pantries in the area, proximity of the food pantries to each other, proposed days and hours of distribution, and whether the organization will provide a service that is not being provided in that area. We strongly discourage duplicated efforts, so we suggest using our Agency Locator Tool to determine if current Arkansas Foodbank members already serve your area. If you feel that there are no agencies serving your community and you would like to open a pantry, please review Criteria for Membership to ensure eligibility. If your organization is eligible, complete the Membership Application Packet and mail it to the Arkansas Foodbank; Attention: Connie Bledsoe; 4301 West 65th Street; Little Rock, AR 72209. Any questions can be directed to Connie Bledsoe, Agency Relations Director, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Membership applications are received and processed from January 1 until September 30 each year.

Criteria for Membership

[Excerpt from the "Agency Handbook"]
The following criteria must be agreed to and complied with for your agency to become and remain a member in good standing of the Arkansas Foodbank. A representative of each member agency is required to sign a copy of the Membership Criteria Agreement stating that they understand, agree to, and will follow these criteria. This document will be kept on file at the Arkansas Foodbank.
Criteria for Member Agencies
1. Is incorporated and operating as a private non-profit organization or under the umbrella of such an organization and is established in the community.
2. Qualifies under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service code or meets the definitional requirements of the IRS code to qualify as a church.
3. Does not discriminate against any person because of race, gender, religion, political affiliation, sexual preference, or national origin.
4. Will not sell, transfer, barter, nor offer for sale the items supplied by the Arkansas Foodbank in exchange for money, property, goods, or services, or otherwise allow items to re-enter commercial channels.
5. Will use all items drawn from the Arkansas Foodbank only in activities included in its tax-exempt purpose and solely for feeding people who are ill, in need, or infants.
6. Will provide sanitary, reliable, and product-appropriate transportation and sufficient personnel to pick up food at the Arkansas Foodbank warehouse.
7. Is licensed by the state and/or city as a food service establishment according to the service provided and will notify the Arkansas Foodbank of any changes in licensing status.
8. Has adequate storage and refrigeration and freezer space to ensure the wholesomeness of the food until it is used.
9. Will maintain good health and sanitation procedures for the types of food drawn.
10. Will accept food in “as is” condition and agrees to inspect such items, withholding from distribution and/or consumption any food that might be spoiled or inedible.
11. Will immediately discard any unfit food and advises the Arkansas Foodbank. (Your agency is not responsible for hidden, unobservable defects.)
12. Will maintain records on the receipt, distribution, and use of products from the Arkansas Foodbank sufficient to provide a clear audit for such products for at least 36 months after the receipt of such products.
13. Will permit representatives of the government and the Arkansas Foodbank to inspect records described in #12.
14. Agrees to regular monitoring by the Arkansas Foodbank representative, or an affiliate thereof, to verify compliance with these criteria and the information provided on the agency’s application and monthly reports.
15. Will support the operation of the Arkansas Foodbank by paying $0.18 per pound for applicable products.
16. Agrees to pay the annual membership fee of $75.00. (This may not pertain to your Foodbank).
17. Understands that food received is a gift and not the result of any sales transaction; and, as such, acknowledges that no express warranties are given and no implied warranties apply to the nature and condition of the food.
18. Affirms that the original donor, the Arkansas Foodbank, and its affiliates are held harmless from any claims or obligations in regard to the products received by the agency.
19. Will destroy and/or discard any food upon notice from the Arkansas Foodbank or original donor that such food may not be fit for human consumption.
20. Will notify the Arkansas Foodbank whenever notice of any claim of liability with respect to food is received.
21. Will observe and implement any use-of-product restrictions placed on items by the Arkansas Foodbank at the request of the original donor.
22. Assumes any and all responsibility for food product liability relating to any act or failure to act by the agency associated with the distribution, storage, preparation, or service of food after the agency assumes possession of the food.
23. Will not use donated products for the purpose of fundraising.
24. Will submit a monthly report by the 15th day of the following month.
25. Never charges clients for food.
26. Never requires clients to pray, donate, or work to eat or receive products.
27. Will order and pick up products at least six times per calendar year, unless determined to be a special program approved by the Arkansas Foodbank.
28. Will be open at least once per month, unless deemed to be a special program approved by the Arkansas Foodbank.
[Download the entire "Agency Handbook" here.}

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