by Kristen Martin
When I arrived at the Pine Bluff Convention Center Tuesday morning, I found a long line of residents waiting for their chance to receive a bag full of chicken. The Delta Network Food Bank received a truckload of Tyson chicken as a result of the Hunger Heroes campaign last summer in Sam’s Clubs across the U.S. This food bank serves 9 counties in Arkansas. According to Feeding America’s recent interactive national report, more than 200,000 children (28%) in Arkansas are at risk of hunger and not getting the food they need to lead healthy, active lives.
Bustling volunteers and Tyson employees were in constant motion, sorting boxes and bags to distribute to area food banks and local residents. It was amazing to see the community come together and serve. After talking with Jacqueline Ross, Director of the Delta Network Food Bank, I discovered that they plan to hold another event at the end of the month.
Their local Tyson plant donated the cold storage space for the rest of the chicken until the food bank would be able to distribute again. Cold storage is often an issue for smaller food banks and they are grateful to have such a wonderful relationship to rely on.
On Wednesday, March 2, another truckload of chicken was delivered to Tarrant Area Food Bank in Fort Worth, TX. This food bank serves 13 counties including 208,390 children. Their In-School Snack program provides healthy snacks to students who experience hunger during the school day, allowing them to focus in the classroom. According to Feeding America, proper nutrition is critical to a child’s development. Not having enough of the right kinds of food can have serious implications for a child’s physical and mental health, academic achievement, and future economic prosperity. Through TAFB’s Food for Kids programs, children receive healthy meals all year round.
While nearly half of American adults say that hunger in the “United States at large” is a serious problem, only 24% of respondents in a national survey believed it was a problem in their own communities. Yet food insecurity affects every community in America. For more information on how you can get involved call your local food pantry or visit www.feedingamerica.org.