Spotlight on Nonprofits
Who’s Leading? Arkansas Foodbank’s team of creative, dedicated community servants is lead by Rhonda Sanders, former executive director of the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance. Serving alongside Sanders is a paid staff of almost 50 people, hundreds of community partners and thousands of volunteers all working for the same goal of eliminating hunger in our neighborhoods and communities.
What’s It All About? Created Jan. 17, 1984, as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Arkansas Foodbank provides local agencies with a credible food source to help feed the hungry and food insecure across several Arkansas counties. Since then, Arkansas Foodbank has grown its local network to 450 partner agencies and delivers millions of pounds of food annually across its now 33-county service area. According to the 2014 Hunger in America study, the Foodbank serves 280,000 people.
In 2016, Arkansas Foodbank merged with Arkansas Rice Depot, a Little Rock-based hunger organization that launched the Food For Kids backpack program in local schools. The program allows food-insecure children, whose only reliable meal of the day is a school lunch, to take home a backpack of staple items to eat over the weekend.
Another Arkansas Foodbank program, Food For Seniors, delivers monthly food and household items to low-income, homebound seniors throughout Pulaski, Saline, Faulkner and Garland counties and in other Central Arkansas locations.
Where Can I Find It? The Arkansas Foodbank’s Donald W. Reynolds Distribution Center is located at 4301 W. 65th St. in Little Rock.
When Can I Attend? Tours of the Arkansas Foodbank warehouse are available for families to large groups. Walk-ins are welcome, but parties of eight or more are asked to call ahead to 501-565-8121. Corporate, civic or school groups are asked to call 501-569-4320 to set up a tour. The Arkansas Foodbank’s regular hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.
Mark Your Calendar! September is Hunger Action Month, so make plans to support the Arkansas Foodbank at the Fourth Annual Harvest Night on Sept. 7 at the Foodbank warehouse from 5-8 p.m. The evening includes catfish, barbecue, craft beer, wine, live music, a live stream of SEC football and plenty of kid-friendly activities such as a petting zoo, face painting, balloon animals and bounce houses!
Why Is It Important? Hunger is a social epidemic that hides in plain sight. In Arkansas alone, well over half a million people, 1 in every 6 Arkansans, struggle with hunger, per Feeding America. Of this total, over 167,000 are children. That’s 25 percent of the children in The Natural State who aren’t sure where their next meal is coming from.
How Can I Help? About 11,000 volunteers donate 33,000 hours to Arkansas Foodbank activities each year. The Arkansas Foodbank can accommodate volunteer groups of all sizes, from families to larger church or corporate groups. Volunteer opportunities include, but are not limited to, sorting incoming food donations, processing and organizing items for distribution, preparing backpack kits for children in schools, office work, delivering senior boxes and assisting with mobile distribution events. Contact the Foodbank’s Volunteer Engagement department to discuss the full range of volunteer opportunities.
4301 W. 65th St., Little Rock