August 22, 2006 -- Posted at 3:34 p.m. CDT
JONESBORO, AR -- The shelves of food pantries across Northeast Arkansas are bare.
While empty shelves are a common problem this time of year, it's even worse now because the number of families that are served has doubled over the last year.
There are over 60,000 people in Northeast Arkansas that are living in poverty.
"Last year we distributed over 1.8 million pounds of food, but the truth is, if we had the supply, we could distribute more than twice that amount," said Christie Jordan, Executive Director for The Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas.
Jordan said some of the biggest needs are the staple food items.
"We are really in need of can goods... can meats, fruits, vegetables, and things like that. We can use macaroni and cheese and peanut butter," said Jordan.
There are many families that fall between the cracks. They earn too much to qualify for food stamps, but not enough to adequately supply for their families.
"They depend on those food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters to supply the most basic needs for their families," said Jordan.
Mission Outreach of Northeast Arkansas is one of the many organizations that is partially supplied by the Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas.
Jamie Collins is the Executive Director of Mission Outreach, based in Paragould.
"Last year we were distributing about 185 boxes a month. This year that has increased by 38%," said Collins.
When the food from the Food Pantry of Northeast Arkansas arrives at Mission Outreach on Wednesday, the shelves will still be very empty. This is why it is important for good neighbors in Region 8 to help Mission Outreach provide food for families and children.
One client of the Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas is the First Assembly of God in Pocahontas. The church is holding a benefit gospel singing Saturday, August 26