JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Director of Development for the Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas, Vicki Pillow, says the generosity of donors helped them to keep Region 8 residents fed through the holiday season, but the new year brought some new needs.
"The need for the food bank is all year round and we just want to let people know about some of the things we need they might be unaware of. We also accept personal care items like hair spray, soap, shampoo. Items like these we also make available to our agencies so that they can pass them out, as well."
Pillow says food donations are great and are always needed, but donating hygiene items can actually help families get more food. "It's just nice to be able to include some personal hygiene products. If they're able to get these, as well, then maybe they can get some other food that they wouldn't have been able to purchase and get this and they won't have to make a choice."
Pillow says their supply is good, for now, but things are going to change soon. "Right now, the supply is okay because of the wonderful, generous people we have in Northeast Arkansas. But of course, this is going to start immediately being passed out and then we' ll have an immediate need again. So, we are always looking for donations throughout the year. More so now, of course, because the holidays are over and we're starting back and people still need to know whether they're going to be able to feed their family. Any food donations or hygiene products are going to be a big help to families."
Another item donors probably didn't know the food bank needs is bags. "You go to the store, you get plastic bags and sometimes you don't know what to do with them and you throw them away. We accept these as donations because we can use these for our commodities distribution. We do commodity distributions throughout the counties we serve and we use thousands of these bags every month. So, we are in constant need of these bags."
And if you don't have the money to donate hygiene products or food, how about your time?
"A lot of people, it's the first of the year, and they make new years resolutions. A lot of wonderful people want to volunteer more and we have wonderful volunteer opportunities . One of the volunteer opportunities we have are our commodity distributions. We use volunteers that would work about three hours one day of the month at our quantity distribution sites which are in the counties that we serve. So, not just here in Jonesboro or Craighead County, but Greene County, Cross County. We can use volunteers in all those counties."
In 2010, the Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas distributed 2.5 million pounds of food to twelve counties in Northeast Arkansas, a dramatic increase from the 2009 total of 2.1 million.
Anyone that's interested in volunteering or donating can reach the Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas at 932-3663 or 932- FOOD. You can also log onto their website.