JONESBORO, ARKANSAS (KAIT) - There are many families and people here in Region 8 who would go hungry if not for the Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas. And Thursday night 26,940 pounds of food along with monetary donations were collected, according to Christie Jordan, Executive Director of the Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas.
All day Thursday KAIT, the Jonesboro Radio Group and several volunteers were out at the Kroger parking lot on Caraway gathering donations to fill the shelves and warehouse space.
John Garrett rolled in with a whole pickup bed loaded with canned goods.
Garrett, "I am just trying to help somebody who needs help. You never know when you're going to have to have it."
For hunger, Arkansas is a top contender.
Vicki Pillow representing the food bank had some shocking numbers. "Arkansas is continually in the top 4 of the hungry states in the nation. That's a final four you don't want to be a part of. The need this year seems to be more so. Our agencies tell us that in one month there were 200 people who had never been to a food pantry before and needed emergency food assistance so the need is really great right now."
The food bank located here in Jonesboro doesn't just feed those in the city or even in the county for that matter.
Pillow, "We are a Feeding America Food Bank. We serve 12 counties in Northeast Arkansas, we are the warehouse distribution facility. 90 partnership agencies draw from us, it is a very efficient county effort. "
The food bank also receives donations from local food producers and gets both federal and state help and products.
All day long people stopped by the trucks with donations of canned and dry foods, and money. Dollars that can be stretched.
Pillow, "By working with Feeding America and the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance we can provide 5 meals with every dollar we receive."
John Garrett says he knows what hunger feels like and having someone assist his family.
Garrett, "When I was younger yes, that was a few years ago. But you never know when you're going to have to have something."
And just how big is the need just in our area? I asked Vicki Pillow.
Everybody that comes and gives us food today is helping us to feed the 5 Thousand, one hundred individuals at risk of hunger in Northeast Arkansas that we provide emergency food assistance to each week.
Pillow says the giving was tremendous but you can make a donation anytime.
Pillow, "We always need canned goods. Canned meats, canned fruits, canned vegetables are always useful for us. Also peanut butter, mac and cheese, rice, pasta. Anything that you would have in your own home to use for dinner."
The food bank can not take home canned items, including zip locked bagged food or any kind of canned or dried food product that's past it's expiration date.