Tuckerman food pantry celebrates 5 years of service

TUCKERMAN, AR (KAIT)- Governor Beebe was in Tuckerman Wednesday to celebrate the 5th anniversary of 'Every Child is Ours' food pantry.

Beebe spoke to students at Tuckerman High School on growing up poor in Jackson County.

'Every Child is Ours' has been an integral part of the community by not only providing food but filling a need in the community.

"In honesty when we started a lot of people didn't think we could do it and I think that's what we've shown and we'd like to be thinking that other communities will say the same thing," said Jan Paschal, president of ECIO.

The Jackson County community came out to congratulate ECIO on five years of service.

"If you're not volunteering and you're not helping anybody, you are missing out," Paschal said. "How could it not feel great, I mean your life is completely filled when you do these good things."

Governor Beebe stopped by to speak on the importance of a community coming together to make a difference.

"It's helping people who need the help whether it's children who are hungry or elderly people who are shut in," Beebe said. "Community organizations that know their community and how to deliver these services is essential in order for it to be effective."

Paschal said there have been a lot of changes in the past 5 years. For one, they are serving a lot more communities.

"We're Tuckerman, Swifton, Grubbs,Campbell Station, parts of Diaz and some of the Newport folks too and we feel that sense of community," she said.

ECIO feeds 500 people a week and sends home 100 backpacks full of food with kids. They also deliver food to home-bound seniors.

"To have firefighters, to have city workers, to have school kids and parents and teachers, everybody, the mayor, everybody is doing everything they can to help each other," Paschal said.

The newest addition to ECIO is a library.

"It's just a great place to come read and the fellowship of the community, it's such a plus to our community and to our school, it just works," said Sandra Provence, member of the ECIO board.

And looking 5 years ahead, Paschal said she hopes to see a particular change in the community.

"I hope there is no need," she said. "I hope there is absolutely no need but I don't know if that is going to happen but I know in the mean time we all have to come together."

Paschal said they receive about 50 books a week for their library. 'Every Child is Ours' also offers literacy classes and computer skill classes.

Copyright 2014 KAIT. All rights reserved.