United by a common goal to fight hunger in Arkansas, the Arkansas Foodbank and Arkansas Rice Depot have joined together as one organization to better fulfill their shared mission of providing hungry Arkansans with more healthy and nutritious food.
On March 30th, board members, volunteers, donors, guests and staff came together to recognize the organizations’ successful histories and celebrate this momentous partnership. U.S. Senator John Boozman was the featured speaker. While the name remains Arkansas Foodbank, CEO Rhonda Sanders unveiled a new brand image and theme, United to Fight Hunger, which honors the legacy of the Arkansas Rice Depot and is reflective of the new Arkansas Foodbank’s mission. “Both organizations have long defined success as increasing the quality and quantity of food delivered to hungry Arkansans. Together, we will find solutions to achieve our shared goal of fighting hunger in our state,” said Cal McCastlain, former Rice Depot and current Foodbank board member.
“By coming together, we will improve upon what each organization did well and use our collective expertise to implement new and innovative programming focused on serving hungry Arkansans with more healthy and nutritious food,” said Jordan Johnson, Arkansas Foodbank board chairman.
Arkansas leads the nation with more than 26 percent of seniors facing food insecurity. The state is also ranked as one of the worst in the country for child hunger with more than one in four children not knowing where their next meal is coming from.
"Arkansas is a leader in agriculture but our citizens continue to suffer from hunger. As Arkansans we need to make sure our neighbors are getting the food they need and eating healthy. I am committed to working with my colleagues in Congress, through existing federal programs and agencies, and most importantly, our local hunger relief networks to fight hunger and malnourishment. Our state is rightfully proud of the proactive efforts of the Arkansas Foodbank and Arkansas Rice Depot to fight hunger in our state,” said Senator John Boozman.
In just two months, the new organization has already distributed 3.25 million meals!
Last year, the Arkansas Foodbank and Arkansas Rice Depot distributed about 25 million pounds of food to agencies that help feed the hungry. The new organization will continue existing programs such as Food For Kids, Food For Families and Food For Seniors that reach school-aged children, college students, families and seniors. The new organization will continue to utilize both facilities, with the Arkansas Rice Depot building serving as the primary point for volunteer activities, food sorting and the Food For Kids backpack program. The Arkansas Foodbank location will serve as the food distribution center to all its partner agencies.
The Arkansas Foodbank wishes to acknowledge the generous support from the following foundations that helped make this merger possible:
Donald W. Reynolds Foundation
The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation is a national philanthropic organization founded in 1954 by the late media entrepreneur for whom it is named. Headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada, it has committed almost $70 million in support of food banks in Arkansas, Nevada and Oklahoma.
Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation
For 40 years, the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation has worked to make a difference by helping to build and sustain the organizations that serve and strengthen Arkansas. Through grantmaking and strategic partnerships, WRF is working even harder to help close the economic and educational gaps that leave too many Arkansas families in persistent poverty. Working together, the needle can and must move from poverty to prosperity for all Arkansans. For more information on the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, go to www.wrfoundation.org.
The Lodestar Foundation is a grantmaking organization from Phoenix, Arizona devoted to maximizing the growth and impact of philanthropy and provides funds nationally and internationally to organizations that support its mission. The Lodestar Foundation congratulates the Arkansas Foodbank and Rice Depot on their merger. We are pleased to support this exemplary collaboration.
Please visit www.lodestarfoundation.org for more information.