Arkansas Foodbank Holds Hunger Relief Forum

They're asking for the community's help to solve hunger in south Arkansas.

EL DORADO, AR. -The Arkansas Foodbank is hoping to end hunger in Union County.

“I want to tell you about the Arkansas Foodbank and how it works,” said Peggy Vickers at Tuesday’s Hunger Relief Forum.  She, along with other members of the Arkansas Foodbank  invited members of the community to share their thoughts and ideas on how to solve the problem of hunger in south Arkansas. “We want every one of you to feel free and to share your voice.”

The Foodbank’s Jennifer Belk says they currently provide 23,000 people with meals each week.

“Our presence here today is to bring the community together to be informed about what we're doing and to really be a partner in each area that we serve, especially in Union County,” said Belk.  She adds that in 2013, they distributed 20.9 million pounds of food to the 33 counties they serve in the Natural State.

To put that number in perspective, that’s about 23 million cans of soup, or roughly 50 million pieces of fruit. 

In the last hunger survey, done in 2011, more than 9,200 adults along with 2,700 children were living with what the Foodbank calls “food insecurity” in Union County. That means they don’t always know when they’re next meal will be.   

Dominique Robinson with “A Second Chance at Life” tells us they see the need too often.

“We had one child tell us it wasn’t his turn to eat, literally,” he said.  His organization provides food for about 1,300 children in all five of Union County’s school districts. “Most of them are your free and reduced [lunch] children. Even though this is considered rural, in the urban rural part of the area, or the inner city, they’re real low income, right on the poverty line or below it.”

He believe today was a good start but more needs to be done.

“Everybody has to get outside of their circle.  That’s why we’re extending our program to and the benefits that we get to anybody.”

Meanwhile, the Foodbank says they’ll keep pushing until they eliminate hunger in both Union County and the State. 

To see how you can help, visit www.arkansasfoodbank.org

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