Food bank needs help amid economic struggles

Published: Jul. 26, 2022 at 6:17 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - The Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas hosted a free produce distribution event in Jonesboro on Friday, July 22.

However, as the event fell outside of the typical commodity distribution schedule, it raised a few questions.

As it turns out, the food bank is falling short of its quotas.

According to Outreach Coordinator Jennifer Hannah, the reason is a bit complex.

“With rising gas prices, grocery prices, inflation, we’re feeling here at the food bank. Our dollars aren’t going as far,” she said.

Feeding America sets quotas based on “Meals Per Person in Need” in specific regions.

During the pandemic, several food pantries closed. Along with economic concerns, the Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas has a big problem.

Not only does the organization have to distribute more food, but they also have to pay more to get it.

That’s why the produce program was born.

“What makes it great is it’s a grab-and-go thing. People don’t even have to get out of their cars,” agency relations coordinator Amber Horton said.

The program gives the food bank the additional opportunity to distribute cheap, healthy, and in-season food.

Friday’s event saw several pallets full of fresh produce handed off from volunteers to those in need.

According to Horton, the food bank would be nothing without those volunteers

“To have people coming out on a Friday during the hottest part of the summer, it means everything,” she said.

Both Horton and Hannah said they plan to have more events like this in the future, though no dates have been set just yet.

In the meantime, they urge people to help however they can, either through donations or by rolling up their sleeves.

“Every dollar you give us used to be able to provide four meals. Now, we’re down to about three and a half,” Hannah said. “We need funds to be able to feed people. We need people to help pack the boxes. So anyway you can help is greatly appreciated.”

For more information on how you can help, visit the Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas website.

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