Trent Roberts: Faces of Hunger Relief

“Gardening is my gift to the Foodbank”

Our next “Face of Hunger Relief” is Arkansas Foodbank Board Member, Trent Roberts. Since the Foodbank’s founding, Roberts has served as a board member and gives his time to help alleviate hunger in Arkansas. We had the privilege of speaking with him this week to find out why he believes hunger relief is such an important issue to solve. 

Roberts holds a Master’s in Agricultural Economics from the University of Arkansas, which led him to a job with the Industrial Development Commission, now the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. He became affiliated with Tom “Smitty” Smith, the former development director of Second Harvest, now known as Feeding America. Smith played a major role in the development of food banks across the southern United States.

After attending meetings with the Arkansas Hunger Task Force, Roberts and other like-minded individuals created a food bank to help those affected by hunger.

I’ve always been involved in Agriculture and hunger is a curable problem. Everyone needs to eat.

He has served on the board, including time as board president, since the Arkansas Foodbank began and has seen an ample amount of growth in its 30 year history. 

“The professionalism of the staff and the donation from Donald W. Reynolds Foundation has allowed the Arkansas Foodbank to grow. Joining Feeding America boosted the organization as well.” 

Roberts notes that an involved board and good leadership have continued the Arkansas Foodbank’s growth into the cornerstone of hunger relief that it is today. 

Roberts retired from his career in 2011 and felt the need to give back. A garden was built on the grounds of the Foodbank and the produce is distributed to member agencies, staff, board members and others. The garden was a project Roberts started and he oversees it to this day. Gardening is way Roberts donates his time to alleviate hunger in Arkansas. 

Working in the garden is something I enjoy. Gardening is my gift to the Foodbank.

It’s also allows me to work in the day-to-day operations of the organization. I want to be available to work and gardening allows me to do that. It gives me a reason to serve. The volunteers who assist me in the garden are great.”

Being involved with the Foodbank for over 30 years comes with a fair share of memories that have impacted Roberts’s life. 

“Our garden is a demonstration and an inspiration. It’s not going to solve the problem of hunger because it’s just not big enough. I remember one lady coming to the garden who received some vegetables. She mentioned an elderly person crying after she was given some squash grown at the Foodbank’s garden. It was beyond her capacity to buy fresh produce. This moment helped me realize the work we are doing is important.”

The Arkansas Foodbank is grateful to have board members who spend their time helping Arkansans affected by hunger. Simple acts of service can make a huge difference in the life of a person struggling to provide food for their families. Because of his service at the Foodbank, we are able to give back to those who need a helping hand. Thank you for helping the Arkansas Foodbank create communities where no one has to go hungry.