Summer time…a time most people are excited for. It is the gateway that sets the platform for family barbecues, picnics in the park, or an afternoon hiking adventure. However, for many children here in the River Valley, summer break is not a time of fun with friends and family. With no school lunch program to rely on, summer just means three months without consistent meals. It means hunger. This is a crucial time, when children and families are struggling with hunger in our community and face the summer months of wondering where their next meal will come from.
Now is the time to come together to get the word out about the River Valley Regional Food Bank, secure donations, and obtain volunteers to make the summer months a time of fun with friends and family. With the various donations we receive and the wonderful volunteers who jump in and lend a helping hand, children and families in our community have a place to go where they can receive healthy, nutritious meals. They can put food on their tables throughout the summer. Your support makes it possible for many local programs and organizations like that of the River Valley Regional Food Bank to help even more hungry individuals and families this summer. With that being said, now is a critical time for us to come together and get the word out.
Here at the Food Bank, we distribute food to food pantries. We have 184 active pantries in our 8 counties. The food pantries then distribute the food to the families. It is estimated that 62,000 families are served. Fort Smith currently feeds children in 19 different schools. I have placed a call to the school board to see if I can get an estimated number of children served. Last year, we distributed a little over 7 million pounds of food to our community and we are hoping to increase that this year. $1 feeds 5 people a meal!! It is amazing how it works, but I am so very grateful!
The food bank serves eight counties in West Central Arkansas, where just over 305,000 people reside. We source the most nutritious foods we can find and provide that food to about 62,000 people in the area. A total of 196 member agencies create a far reaching network of food pantries, soup kitchens, senior centers, churches and nonprofit groups that get food to people in need of assistance.
They are a member of Feeding America, a national organization supporting more than 200 food banks across the country. They are also a member of the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance. As a community partner of the United Way of Fort Smith Area, they support our other UW partners in any way we can.
The Food Bank is always in need of individuals, families, groups or organizations, church missions and businesses looking to serve the community in a meaningful way. Should you wish to volunteer, Call Tracy Engel at 479/785-0582 for more information.
See their latest Network Fact Sheet
Items requested for donation
- Peanut butter
- Canned goods
- Dry goods
- Bottled water