The Holidays are fast approaching and this holiday season, more than 63,000 people in Northwest Arkansas are food insecure. However, the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank goes beyond the walls of its warehouse to reach those in need, no matter what time of year it is.
“We go out to ten locations where food resources are scarce,” NWA Food Bank Director of Development Mike Williams explained.
Williams points to the nonprofit’s ten mobile food pantry locations as a necessary outreach program to help those who are food insecure.
“We’re essentially bringing the pantry to where the need is,” Williams said. “So here today in Bella Vista there aren’t very many food pantries that are available and the ones that are, are small and only open once a week. So we come out here once a month to help subsidize those efforts.”
The locations go up and down the I-49 corridor from Bella Vista to Fayetteville and then outward to places like Berryville and Huntsville. Through the food bank’s network of volunteers and vans, this is the only program in which it directly distributes food to clients.
“This program is special because we bring the pantry to them,” Williams shared. “We bring the pantry to where it is. We don’t have to rely on a building or permanent facility, but we can mobilize to exactly where the need is.”
Food insecurity is not only an immediate issue, but one that carries far reaching impacts.
“If people are food insecure they struggle to be productive at work, kids struggle to do well in school,” Williams explained. “So if we can make sure that all of our communities are fed, our economy and our community is operating at it’s prime.”
All of the food distributed through the mobile pantry program is donated.
“We rely on donations to be able to feed the clients that we feed through this program,” Williams said. “Holiday donations are important and crucial to programs like this to make sure that everyone in our community has a healthy meal to eat.”
The Northwest Arkansas Food Bank always needs volunteers to help with its many programs and relies on donations. Click here to learn more about how you can help as well as where all the mobile food pantry locations are.