BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – An annual tradition to feed hundreds of families kicked off Thursday. Every year, on Christmas Eve, the Kiwanis Club of Bentonville hands out baskets of food to the community to make sure no family goes hungry for the holidays.
The President of the Kiwanis Club of Bentonville, Bobby Smittle said the Guy Wilkerson Food Basket giveaway started 64 years ago with about a dozen boxes. It has grown to 500 giveaway baskets full of food. He said the need continues to grow every year.
The Kiwanis Club tells us this is a community effort. Schools, local organizations and community members donated food for the baskets. The club also raised money for the big giveaways throughout the year. The baskets are filled with nonperishable items, some potatoes, bread, sweets and a frozen chicken.
Smittle said he’s glad to be able to continue this tradition and feed so many families especially during the health crisis when more people could use a helping hand. This is there way of making sure families have a good meal for the holidays.
Smittle said one of the biggest challenges is finding a location to host the event. For years, it was hosted at the Bentonville Armory until the space was no longer became available. So it’s been tough to find a place large enough to put the boxes together, with a parking space for hundreds of cars to smoothly move through it for the food pick up. The Kiwanis club tells us their goal is to find a permanent location so they can continue to help the community.
Food baskets will be given away to any family in need December 24 starting at 8 a.m. It’s first come first serve. The giveaway is at 702 SE 5th Street in Bentonville.