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Food bank sees decline in donations, distribution

Organization needs donations, spread of awareness
Published: Mar. 3, 2022 at 4:32 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 3, 2022 at 6:57 PM CST
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Even during the peak giving season, the food bank was struggling to stock shelves.

Now, months later, things still haven’t gotten better.

In Northeast Arkansas, nearly 68,000 people are food insecure. Of those, around 23,000 are children. The Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas needs help to support those in need, which make up around 18.6 percent of the population.

In 2021, donations were down more than 15 percent from 2020. Additionally, distribution was down 17 percent. That equates to more than 1.5 million fewer pounds of food than the year before. Unfortunately, donations and distribution in 2022 are matching those from a year ago.

“In 2020, we did receive about 10.4 million pounds of food, but in 2021 we received about 8.8 million pounds of food. And so overall, that’s a 1.6 million pound difference,” Rebecca Hendrix, chief development officer at the food bank, said. “That’s a huge difference when we’re talking about the people that we’re needing to feed. "

However, donations and distribution aren’t the only problems. The ongoing supply chain shortage paired with inflation is negatively impacting the food bank, too.

Though 97 cents out of every dollar donated goes to supplying meals for those in need, that 97 cents does not go as far as it did two years ago.

Amber Horton, corporate partnerships coordinator, said they’re doing all they can to get the most bang for their buck.

“While we do have some funding that we can use to purchase the food, we will have to work harder to make sure and stretch our money wisely,” she said.

Hendrix says the best way to help is still donating, but now more than ever, they need people to spread awareness of their organization and programs.

“We are looking for advocates all the time. We need people who can learn about our cause and be able to spread the awareness of what we actually need here at the Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas,” she said. “If they can learn what we do and how we do it, then they can be able to spread that information and be able to advocate for people who are hungry.”

To find out more information on how to donate or get involved with the food bank, you can visit their website here.

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