Local grocery store works to feed the needy

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A local grocery store is asking customers to dig into their pockets and help those families this holiday season who can't afford the food your buying.

Employees of Food Giant grocery stores are participating in the "Help Us End Hunger" Campaign.

Manager of the Food Giant location in Harrisburg, Chris Roark, says the purpose of this program is to inspire others to help so many that are in need.

"The company developed this to get the community involved with hunger, " Roark said. "Because this time of the year, the problem is larger. This was a way to let the customers give back."

Vicki Pillow with the Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas says there is a continual need in the Region 8 area.

"We have had our food pantries continue to tell us that they've had families come to the food banks for help that have never had to before, " Pillow said. "So, the need is still there and continues to grow."

Roark says that Food Giant participates in a number of different programs throughout the year, but this is something employees are very excited about.

"There are people who face hunger all year round, but the food pantries have told us that this year right now they're dealing with a lot more. So, this was something we hoped would raise awareness to the issue and get the community involved. We're all just really excited to have the opportunity to help, especially this time of year."

Harrisburg resident Ruby Lovell says she thinks this is something everyone should participate in.

"I think it's just wonderful, " Ruby remarked excitedly. "Food Giant always seems to come through, they do lots of stuff and I think this is a wonderful idea."

Roark says he was thrilled when he first told about the idea.

"I was really excited when they said they were going to do this, " Roark said. "Personally, my family and I try to help others this time of year. We pick a family that needs help and try to provide that help to them. So, I think this is a good cause and the first week we started it really progressed."

Pillow says the number of people that don't know where their next meal is coming from is alarming.

"We provide emergency food assistance to 5, 100 people in need every week in the 12 county service."

The Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas works with a network of 90 partner agencies to get food out to individuals in need.

Pillow, "The holidays are big time of need because we want to make sure everyone in Northeast Arkansas has something to eat and families at risk of hunger aren't having to worry about where that need is coming from."

This program with Food Giant will be taking place through December 23rd.

The eight locations that are participating are in Forrest City, Marianna, Harrisburg, and Bryant.

Four of the eight locations are Little Rock.

For more information about Food Giant, you can log onto this website.

For additional information about the Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas, click on this site.

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