At the Arkansas Foodbank, it goes without saying that our member agencies are the heart and souls of the operation. Many of them are volunteers, sacrificing their time to make sure members of their community are fed. Our third "Face of Hunger Relief” comes from a family who's spent five decades putting food on Arkansas tables. Her name is Joannie Cayce.
Cayce is the director of Cayce’s Charity, an emergency assistance organization that provides food, clothes, furniture and toys to families all over southern Arkansas at any hour of the day. With her home located next door to the organization's main building, she says she's awakened to see a line of people outside her doorstep waiting for food. But she doesn’t mind.
“Our family was born with a desire to serve others,” she said.
Cayce's mother, JoAnn, started Cayce’s Charity 55 years ago. Back then, she would go and purchase the food and distribute it to families directly from her car. These days, their distribution has grown so large that it takes an old antique store and a nearby gymnasium to store all of it. But the Cayces know that is what it takes. They live in an area in Calhoun County with no job market, and the majority of their neighbors have lived their entire lives in poverty. That's why the Cayce’s have gone the extra mile to help these families enjoy blessings that many of us take for granted.
“It gives me more joy to serve than anything else I can do,” Cacye said. “Every day I wake up with love for my fellow man.”
This past Christmas, Cayce’s Charity distributed 724 bags of food to men, women and children near Thornton, AR. Cayce even drove to all the rural areas to make sure everyone had a holiday meal. She said their thankfulness is the best gift she has ever received.
Her determination to help everyone around her is a big reason why the mission continues to grow year. In 2013, they distributed more than 117,000 pounds of food to families in need from the Arkansas Foodbank. And while Cayce and her mother have taken care of the charity for more than five decades now, she said she's not worried about its future. Her son Daniel is already a driving force at the charity, focusing on a new furniture recycling program they're offering. Daniel Cayce's name is on an award given out annually to an Arkansas high school student who best demonstrates selfless volunteerism on behalf of his or her community. During high school, Daniel helped feed kids and teens at nearby schools during the weekend, often putting the meals together himself.
In a letter Cayce wrote to the Foodbank in January, she stated, “Your help is what accomplishes our mission, revives our soul, and give hope and joy unspeakable to those we serve…I pray for us to be able to help more poor, relieve more suffering and accomplish even more for 2014.”
So as you can see, the Cayces are an integral part of life in Calhoun County. They've helped out so many families in more ways than one and for that, the Foodbank thanks you Joannie, Joann and Daniel for being passionate champions for the hungry.