Because one in four Arkansas children don't know where their next meal is coming from.
Because Arkansas is primarily a rural state, and many small towns have no grocery stores and offer only processed foods from convenience stores and gas stations.
Because poverty and hunger are high among the state's senior citizens.
That's why the Arkansas Foodbank offers these food assistance programs:
Local Partner Development and the Foodbank University
In order to meet the increasing demand for food in underserved areas, the Arkansas Foodbank is working smarter and streamlining efforts through our Local Partner Initiative, which works with local leaders to create food pantries and feeding sites where none exisisted before. And our Foodbank University equips agency representatives with the skills and technologies they need to strengthen and sustain their pantries.
Feed Our Future Today
The mission of Feed Our Future Today is to test, model and export effective, cost-efficient and manageable programs that provide nutritious food to hungry children when they're not in school. We're focusing on three strategies to provide seamless access: School Pantries, Afterschool Snack and Meal Programs and Summer Feeding.
The Foodbank has developed a Senior Hunger Initiative following a comprehensive year-long study, and is adapting the initiative into programs like Senior Supplement, a joint effort between the Foodbank and CareLink, designed to help seniors in central Arkansas who struggle to stretch their Social Security income to pay for rent, utilities, medicine and food. This program provides 32 seniors (selected by CareLink) with a monthly box of groceries to help with the burden of expenses. Volunteers pack the boxes at the Foodbank warehouse and then the boxes are distributed by volunteers at CareLink.
Access to the Arkansas Foodbank from isolated, rural locales, especially in the Delta, is sometimes challenging. Food pantries and other organizations located in some of Arkansas' most impoverished areas have a hard time getting to the warehouse to pick up food. That's why the Arkansas Foodbank delivers food to them. And thanks to our partnership with The Diesel Driving Academy, located near our warehouse, the driver trainees get experience delivering loads of food to these areas, and we save thousands of dollars in transportation costs. In one year alone, DDA made 36 deliveries and saved us $16,400.
Foodbank Community Garden
The Foodbank has a 10,000-square-foot garden next to our warehouse tended by volunteers who plant and harvest vegetables, fruits, berries and even honeybees. Agency representatives can pick their own produce while waiting for orders to be filled, ensuring that their clients receive the freshest, most nutritious food possible to supplement their diets.