BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The Arkansas Community Foundation says the pandemic affected the way people give back.

Jody Dilday, the Vice President of Northwest Operations at the Arkansas Community Foundation says people shifted their focus to basic human necessities.

“People’s charitable giving shifted to more human needs versus things like the arts and environmental issues,” Dilday said.

Dilday says The Arkansas Community Foundation’s motto is to offer a helping hand to local nonprofits or to those wanting to make a change in their community.

“The foundation exists to provide resources, inspiration, and insight to help people with their charitable giving to make Arkansas communities a place that we all would want to raise our kids in,” Dilday said.

Dilday says the pandemic made people more committed to digging deeper to support and give back to a greater cause.

“A lot of people were suffering and although we were all in the same storm we were not all in the same boat,” Dilday said.

One local organization says they’re keeping holiday traditions alive and won’t stop giving back to those who are in need.

“It is the 67th year that this has been done. Guy Wilkerson started it with 12 baskets of food for all of the poor families that were in Bentonville at the time and now we have collected 400 boxes of food this year,” said Bobby Smittle, President of The Bentonville and Bella Vista Kiwanis Club.

Smittle says everybody should have access to basic human rights.

“A lot of people just need the basics. They need a place to stay. They need something to wear, and they need food to eat. And, these are the things that we need to make sure that they get. And, that’s been the Kiwanis Club’s goal,” Smittle said.

Smittle says the 400 boxes they have collected over the past several weeks consist of the essentials.

“We give out potatoes, bread, chicken, canned goods, the stuffing, and there’s plenty to last for a little while longer after a meal,” Smittle said.

Dilday says the work of local organizations like The Kiwanis Club is a start to a better future and a way to keep the future of philanthropy alive.

“We really want to build communities where our children will want to raise their children rather than children growing up and moving away, we hope that they will want to stay and continue to make Arkansas their home,” Dilday said.

Smittle says as Northwest Arkansas gets more prosperous and more populated. He says it leaves people behind, but his goal is to bring those people who are less fortunate up because seeing their happiness makes this job worth it.

“It’s really nice to see the people that come get the help because they appreciate it, they know what’s needed and they know that we’re giving it from the heart,” Smittle said.