Our next “Face of Hunger Relief” is none other than Arkansas’ First Lady Ginger Beebe. For many years she has been a voice for hunger relief and has helped raised awareness to thousands in our state about those who are facing hunger and how we can all help. While her husband, Gov. Mike Beebe has put forth a great deal of effort in fighting hunger during his time in office, he is first to admit that Ginger played a huge role in making hunger relief a top priority of his administration.
Here is Arkansas’ First Lady Ginger Beebe with her take on the issue of hunger and why she is involved:
For you personally, why is the issue of hunger so important?
It’s difficult to see or imagine anyone going without food, especially children. It’s even more troubling when you realize that we have the resources to feed them. When someone is hungry, it affects every other part of his or her life. I’ve long been an advocate for school breakfast programs, because I know that children cannot learn if they’re hungry.
Over the years as Arkansas’ First Lady, what hunger relief organizations have you been involved with?
I’ve been involved with the Arkansas Foodbank, the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, No Kid Hungry, the Arkansas Rice Depot and others throughout the state. The issue of hunger relief is so important, and I have been involved with as many organizations of which I’ve become aware and to which I can lend a voice.
What would you tell people who may be unaware of the issue of hunger in our state?
Those of us who are aware of hunger must spread the word – we have to make sure everyone understands the problem exists and there are solutions. I think there are a lot of misperceptions about the issue of hunger. I hope that all Arkansans will come to understand that hunger exists everywhere, in all of our communities. It may be someone in your neighborhood, your church, your school. It’s next door to you.
Volunteering has always been an important part of your life. How can it make a difference in every community across our state?
Volunteerism can and does have a significant impact across our state. Whenever someone volunteers their time, talents, or money, it
makes a huge impact on the people they are helping, which strengthens the community as a whole. In my experience, there are often people in the community who want to help, but they don’t know the best way to get involved. We must raise awareness and connect people with opportunities to serve. It’s also important to remind people that you do not need money or specific skills to make a difference in your community.
What do you have to say to all of the countless volunteers at food pantries and churches across the state who are on the front-lines of dealing with hunger?
To those serving on the front-lines in our fight to eliminate hunger, thank you! You are making the difference in the lives of many Arkansans. The giving of your time, efforts, and resources is seen and appreciated!
Any story that make stick out about a person dealing with hunger that you care to share?
Many years ago, I visited a very active, but very small, food pantry in a tiny farming community in East Arkansas. The food pantry was staffed entirely by volunteers. During my time there, I witnessed families, many with young children, visit the food pantry to pick up food. Watching those families and seeing their gratitude made me realize how necessary hunger relief efforts are for the survival of these families.
Arkansas’ First Lady Ginger Beebe has always been a big proponent of the Arkansas Foodbank and the work we do. We are forever grateful for all of the things she has done to help fight hunger in our state.