Arvest lends a hand to Loaves & Fishes

Tuesday, July 31, 2018
Employees of Arvest Bank in Berryville recently held a fundraiser and food drive in conjunction with a company-wide effort to help feed the hungry. Local proceeds were donated to the Loaves & Fishes Food Bank of the Ozarks.
Photo by David Bell/Carroll County News

As a part of a national effort, the Berryville branch of Arvest Bank raised $1,053.25 and donated about 3,000 meals to Loaves & Fishes Food Bank of the Ozarks, an Arvest representative said.

For the second year, the bank worked with Berryville Elementary School and Berryville Intermediate School to organize a food drive. The grade that donated the most food got a popsicle party, said Sarah Brown, an Arvest financial sales representative.

“The schools were fantastic to work with,” Brown said.

Every year from April to June, Arvest has a nationwide fundraiser with the goal of donating one million meals to those in need, Brown said. This year, bank employees donated two million meals.

Loaves & Fishes plans to use the money Arvest donated to buy more food and toiletries for the people it serves, food bank volunteer David Stephenson said. Loaves & Fishes has donated about 18,000 pounds of food in July, which Stephenson said is about three-fourths the usual amount the organization donates.

Loaves & Fishes, which is entirely volunteer-run, has been serving about 9,000 customers for more than 20 years, Stephenson said. Its hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday.

Stephenson said people may also donate food directly to Loaves & Fishes. Farmers often donate produce, and during the fall, hunters donate deer meat. But donors have to make sure the food has not spoiled, or Loaves & Fishes cannot accept their donations.

“If it’s something they would not eat, it’s not something we’re going to serve,” Stephenson said.

During the Arvest fundraiser, Brown said she most enjoyed “being able to provide for our community and all the people who aren’t able to provide for themselves and lend a helping hand to those in need.”

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