North Little Rock food pantry’s need doubles after tornado

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Arkansas Foodbank is always working to raise money and food to fight hunger in the Natural State, and they are always finding help from local food pantries to get meals out to those in need.

A recent U.S. Department of Agriculture report looking at household food insecurity in 2022 ranked Arkansas at 1st in the country for the highest percentage of residents facing food insecurity, with 16.6% of Arkansans considered food insecure.

The Arkansas Foodbank is determined to ensure no one goes to bed hungry, though, noting that a donation of just $1 can provide five meals.

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To reach everyone possible, the Arkansas Foodbank partners with more than 400 pantries and other charitable agencies across central & southern Arkansas to provide donations to those on the frontline fighting hunger in the state.

Sometimes, those trying to help others find themselves in need to aid. Amboy Food Pantry director Joy Harcrow is now counting cans and packing bags for others in need but not long ago was without a pantry of her own.

The March 31 tornado outbreak that hit Arkansas left its scars, including a concrete slab left where the Amboy Food Pantry once stood.

“The tornado took my house and ruined the fire station and everything over there,” Harcrow said.

Arkansas Foodbank working to combat food insecurity

However, because of the great need, the Levy United Methodist Church welcomed the pantry in shortly after the fire station they had operated out of was condemned.

“Since we’ve been over here it’s doubled,” Harcrow said. “We have new people every day we’re open.”

At Amboy, thousands of pounds of food and other gifts get into the hands of families all year round. Much of it is sourced from donations, but they also have to buy food from the Arkansas Foodbank twice a month. Harcrow said thankfully their prices are better than anywhere else, adding that sometimes the foodbank can donate food for free.

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Shortly before Thanksgiving, the pantry received 270 boxes filled with a variety of food and more than 100 pounds of ground beef. The foodbank also connected them with a local Kroger that now donates to the pantry. The foodbank partnership is one they depend on.

“We couldn’t survive if we didn’t have donations,” Harcrow said. “It takes a village to run the pantry.”

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