Feeding the Need: Mobile pantry sees large first-day turnout

Friday, June 8, 2018
With the support of Tyson Foods, Northwest Arkansas Food Bank development manager Linda Phillips and development assistant Cara Eickhoff are ‘working together for hunger relief’ in Carroll County.
Photo by Tavi Ellis/Carroll County News

The Northwest Arkansas Food Bank’s mobile pantry made its first visit to Berryville on Tuesday and had one of its largest first-day turnouts ever.

The mobile pantry opened at 10 a.m. Tuesday, June 5, at the Carroll County Senior Activity and Wellness Center in Berryville. Carla Mann, director of the senior center, said the mobile pantry had prepared for about 85 families.

“We had so many people show up that they had to turn some away. They’re going to bring more food next time,” Mann said. “They didn’t realize how big the need is here. Hopefully, no one will be turned away next time.”

According to a press release from the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank, Carroll County has a population that is 13.5 percent food-insecure, and 69 percent of the population is eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). It says the program expects to distribute food for 250 individuals on a monthly basis at the new sites.

“I’m really excited about this program,” Mann said. ““I’ve been working with the food bank for a year on this, so I’m glad to see it happening.”

One of the best parts, she said, is that the mobile pantry will be an additional source of food for low-income families.

“If they’re already going to an area food bank, this will be additional food for them,” Mann said. “The other great thing is when we were first working on this I thought it would only be dry shelf-stable food available. Since we’ve started talking, the food bank has purchased a refrigerated truck, so they will be able to provide a bigger variety of food.”

She said the senior center can arrange transportation to the mobile pantry when it is in town for those who need it. Anyone in need of transportation can call the senior center at 870-423-3265.

“I’m excited the first day went so well,” Mann said. “I think it’s going to be a great thing for our community.”

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