Region 8 food pantries are reaching more people

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)-A number of Region 8 food pantries got some much needed help.

Four agencies received transport equipment from the Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas on Tuesday.

These donations were made possible through a grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation the Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas received in September of 2011.

Executive Director of the Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas, Christie Jordan, says they're thrilled to have the opportunity to help their partner agencies.

"We have several different agencies that are receiving items," Jordan said. "We delivered refrigerators and freezers already to a couple of agencies. Three agencies will be receiving covered trailers so they can transport food safely in all types of weather and one agency is receiving a refrigerated cargo van, today."

Jordan says one of the agencies biggest issues has been food transportation.

"So many of our non profit partners that we work with operate on a shoe string budget," Jordan said. "We did some interviews and some surveys of our agencies and asked them what are some of your biggest obstacles in being able to get more food to families in need. And so many times it was simply just having the way to transport the food from our facility to their agency."

Tabatha Bunn is with Provision 88 First Assembly of God in Jonesboro.

Bunn says the trailer they're getting is going to make a big difference in the work they do.

"The bigger the trailer the bigger the food," Bunn said. "The more we can carry and that's so important. To be able to, because if you have more food you can bless more people with it."

Bunn says they work to help people all over, not just in Jonesboro.

"We serve about seven different counties in our ministry," Bunn said. "And the need is to help people no matter what their circumstances or their financial situation."

Jeanne Potts with the WINGS Food Pantry in Piggott says transporting food before it goes bad has been a major problem for them.

"We live a long distance," Potts said. "In the summertime when we would come down to get our refrigerated or frozen foods, we had problems with it thawing out before we could get it home and get it put away. And now, we have this cargo van that we can haul the food in and deliver if need be."

Jordan says she and Food Bank of NEA employees started looking into ways to help their partner agencies when they new they wanted to build a larger warehouse for the Food Bank.

"When we started the process of looking at building a new warehouse facility for the Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas," Jordan said. "We knew that was going to increase our capacity. But we also knew that if we didn't help our agencies to be able to receive and distribute more food to families in need, the capacity building we were doing was in vain."

Jordan says the equipment these agencies received on Tuesday is just the beginning.

"This is just the first round," Jordan said. "We're preparing to issue our second round of capacity building grant applications. So, in the next 12 months we will be gifting another $350, 000 worth of equipment to our partner agencies."

The Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas serves, through their network of agencies and programs, over 5, 000 people each week in a12 county area.

For additional information about the Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas, click here.

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