Ar­vest Bank kicks off eighth year of its cam­paign to fight hunger

Westside Eagle-Observer - - NEWS - STAFF RE­PORTS

GRAVETTE — Ar­vest Bank’s 1 Mil­lion Meals ini­tia­tive chal­lenges bank as­so­ci­ates, cus­tomers and com­mu­nity mem­bers to par­tic­i­pate in fundrais­ing ef­forts and non­per­ish­able food drives to fight hunger in the more than 120 com­mu­ni­ties the bank serves. The ini­tia­tive is needed, as Arkansas ranks fifth among the most food-in­se­cure states in the na­tion, ac­cord­ing to the United States Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture.

Ar­vest kicked off the two-month, bank-wide ef­fort last week to pro­vide at least one mil­lion meals to lo­cal, hun­gry fam­i­lies, and it will con­tinue through June 2. The ini­tia­tive will con­clude later that month when dona­tions are pre­sented to 75-plus lo­cally se­lected or­ga­ni­za­tions that feed the hun­gry in their com­mu­ni­ties.

Ar­vest in Gravette has part­nered with Maysville Bi­ble Food Pantry for the du­ra­tion of the ini­tia­tive. All dona­tions re­ceived will go to Maysville Bi­ble Food Pantry to pro­vide meals to lo­cal, hun­gry fam­i­lies.

In Gen­try, Ar­vest has part­nered with GFA Pantry in Gen­try this year. The lo­cal pantry pro­vides food to lo­cal fam­i­lies in need.

Area res­i­dents can par­tic­i­pate in 1 Mil­lion Meals by drop­ping off non­per­ish­able food items or mak­ing mone­tary dona­tions at the Ar­vest branches in Gravette or Gen­try or call­ing 866952-9523. Ar­vest credit card cus­tomers also can do­nate Ar­vest Flex Re­wards points by vis­it­ing ar­vest­flexre­ and click­ing on the 1 Mil­lion Meals ban­ner. Ev­ery dol­lar raised through 1 Mil­lion Meals pro­vides the equiv­a­lent of five meals for those in need.

“Kick­ing off our 1 Mil­lion Meals cam­paign is al­ways an ex­cit­ing time,” Jim Sin­gle­ton, Ar­vest Bank pres­i­dent in Gravette, said. “Our as­so­ci­ates look for­ward to join­ing Maysville Bi­ble Food Pantry, our cus­tomers and the com­mu­nity to fight hunger.”

Ar­vest is con­duct­ing its an­nual ini­tia­tive in the spring for the third con­sec­u­tive year due to the fact food banks re­port an in­creased need for food items in the sum­mer, when many chil­dren do not have the ben­e­fit of eat­ing meals at the schools they at­tend. Ac­cord­ing to the Food Re­search and Ac­tion Cen­ter, only one out of seven chil­dren who ate a free or re­duced-priced school lunch dur­ing the 2015-16 school year were reached by the Sum­mer Nu­tri­tion Pro­grams in July 2016. Dona­tions to food banks also tend to be lower in the spring and sum­mer than at other times of the year.

For more in­for­ma­tion about 1 Mil­lion Meals, visit ar­­lion­meals.

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