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Food Pantry In Fort Smith Arkansas

40/29 and the Arkansas CW collects turkeys for the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank

A number of food banks, soup kitchens for hot meals and free emergency food pantries in Fort Smith, Arkansas distribute groceries to individuals or families who are in some form of an emergency situation.

There are also meals, free bags of food, personal toiletries and household goods for low to moderate income families from food pantries near you.

Distribution centers can include churches, non-profit organizations, community action agencies, and many other local charities as well as non-profits.

Building Relationships To Care For Neighbors

While anonymity is one of the little free pantries assets, it also is a hurdle for those the pantries intend to serve.

Few givers and receivers will see each other at the boxes, helping to lessen the shame and stigma of food insecurity. However, the disconnection makes it difficult to establish relationships with those who need more support.

Accepting help requires courage and vulnerability, and by forging a relationship, theyre more able to help you in other ways if youre known to them, Briggs said. It doesnt mean that we want to be in all of your business, but we know who you are, and we know when we see you.

For individuals who make the transition from the giving box to the food pantry, St. Bartholomews offers connections to additional aid, whether its referring them to another service or sometimes they just need somebody to listen, Leeper said.

On their own, little free pantries will not solve food insecurity. For local leaders, the little boxes are a starting place in the fight against hunger.

It doesnt really provide a long-term solution for folks, but it definitely helps in the interim if somebody finds themselves in a difficult spot needing food, Johnson said.

For those who have concerns about the openness and availability of the food in the pantries being taken advantage of, Leeper offers a response.

The Salvation Army is dedicated to eliminating food insecurity.

How Does A Food Pantry Work

Food Banks acquire large donations of edible but unmarketable food from the food industry and distribute it to organizations that feed hungry people. Then they provide this food to family in a need.

Our vision is simpleâbring financial security, dignity, and savings to the millions experiencing financial stress.

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Food Bank Of Northeast Arkansas Has An Endless Mission

by George Jared November 15, 2022 8:44 am 269 views


NEA Outstanding Business of the Year AwardFood Bank of Northeast ArkansasNonprofit Business award

The Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas was in desperate need of a new facility. The estimated cost to renovate a larger facility was around millions of dollars, and Food Bank CEO Christie Jordan told Talk Business & Politics she wasnt sure where the money would come from.

Then the organization received a grant to pay for the project. Its been a decade since then, and Jordan said its among the most pivotal moments of her career.

The Food Bank has been selected as the Talk Business & Politics Northeast Arkansas Nonprofit Outstanding Business of the Year. The award is presented by QualChoice.

In November 2012 the Food Bank moved into our new distribution facility. We moved from a 13,000-square-foot building to a 56,000-square-foot distribution center that was specifically designed for our work, she said. Achieving that goal was years in the making.

Since 1983, the Food Bank has distributed several million pounds of food throughout Northeast Arkansas. The Food Banks Core Food Distribution program accepts donated bulk food that would otherwise be destroyed from local and national manufacturers, retailers and growers. This food is then stored and redistributed to charitable agencies that rely upon the Food Bank to provide nutritious food for their communities.

We need donations of time, food, and money, she said.

Location Will Be At Martin Luther King Jr Park

AR Gleaning Project

The Antioch For Youth & Family Thanksgiving food giveaway will be Wednesday, Nov 16 at Martin Luther King Jr. Park in Fort Smith, director Charolotte Tidwell said.

With inflation this year and higher food prices in grocery stores, more people have needed food at the weekly food giveaways at Antioch For Youth & Family in Fort Smith. A spike in need in the last month has been reported across the nation.

The Thanksgiving food drive-thru will be 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the park, 1815 N. Greenwood Ave.

The food giveaway was recently postponed and moved from Kay Rodgers Park to Martin Luther King Jr. Park.

Families in Fort Smith with children are in need of food and a traditional, Thanksgiving holiday meal, Tidwell said.

At the Nov. 16 giveaway, volunteers are asked to arrive at 8 a.m.

Only two families per vehicle are allowed. A driver’s license or photo ID is required.

Volunteers from local churches will deliver Cornice hens to low-income apartment complex residents with children Volunteers are from New Life Church South Dallas in Fort Smith, Harvest Time Church in Fort Smith and Refuge Ministries in Van Buren. Fort Smith police are also helping deliver food.

“Delivery allows additional protein to a large population of homes with children and no transportation,” Tidwell said.

Those interested in volunteering can email organizers at

Also in Fort Smith, the River Valley Regional Food Bank is helping deliver meals for the holiday season.

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Fort Smith’s Tidwell Continues Building Community Through Antioch Youth And Family Food Pantry

FORT SMITH — Founder Charolette Tidwell started the Antioch Youth and Family nonprofit group knowing nothing about running a food pantry, but did have experience in health care and knowledge of the needs of River Valley residents.

Nearly 22 years later, the group now provides more than 800,000 meals for more than 10,400 people each year.

Tidwell credits that to the numerous programs, countless volunteers and growing location at 1122 N. 11th St.

Antioch’s website notes it comes from Tidwell’s passion and determination, which is what also led her to be one of the first Black women to attend Sparks School of Nursing. She also worked her way from charge nurse to head nurse in intensive care and finally the director of medical and surgical nursing in a matter of six years.

“I was in health care, so I saw the physical problems. I saw the mental anguish of clients. But I didn’t do it from a food perspective,” Tidwell said.

Tidwell explained Antioch’s mission is “feeding the body, feeding the mind and feeding the spirit with purpose and persistence.” She thinks identifying issues with purpose and persistence is what builds the utopia every community should strive for.

One purpose Antioch has identified is providing food and nutrition information to area children through the juvenile court system, providing mentoring, workforce, case work and emergency shelter programs for 13 years.

“She’s just a gem for our community,” Baker said about Tidwell.

New Designs And Expanded Offerings

With an open pantry exposed to the elements comes many issues including weather, vandalism, and limitations on the types of food items.

Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, located at 2100 Cavanaugh Road, has encountered issues with people placing perishable items into their little food pantry including produce and packages of raw chicken. Pastor Richard Davenport said the church had to place a sign on the box with a reminder to only donate nonperishable items.

I absolutely understand the sentiment, and people wanting to help other people, but its not a good way to do it, Davenport said.

Instead, he encourages donations of canned goods, cereal and other foods that will be safe to consume after sitting in the box.

During colder temperatures, St. Bartholomews found a way to work with the weather to include more perishable items.

One thing we were able to really use the giving box for was during the snow last year, people werent able to get out, but we were able to fix bags and leave them in the box Because it was so cold, we were even able to leave some of the frozen stuff out there, Leeper said.

Zeke Allen, the pastor of Wesley United Methodist Church, located at 2200 Phoenix Ave., and Cavanaugh United Methodist Church, located at 7205 Highway 271 South, updated both churches little food pantries by building new boxes with ventilation.

We bag it in paper sacks, and on a regular basis, there will be people waiting for us to put it in. It moves very quickly, Allen said.

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Helping Hands Food Pantry

Helping Hands is a faith-based 501 food pantry operated around Fort Smith, Arkansas almost entirely by volunteers.

It provides a 7-day supply of groceries and personal care items free of charge to people in need, regardless of their religious beliefs.

Helping Hands is supported entirely by donations from individuals, service organizations, churches, and businesses in our community.

We have located 1 Helping Hand Food Pantry locations in Fort Smith, Arkansas which provides a wide array of services. We have partnered so you can also check your eligibility.

Trauma Rehabilitation Resources Program

NWA Food Bank prepares for Turkey Drive 2021
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  • The food bank serves eight counties in West Central Arkansas, where just over 305,000 people reside. We source the most nutritious foods we can find and provide that food to about 62,000 people in the area. A total of 196 member agencies create a far reaching network of food pantries, soup kitchens, senior centers, churches and nonprofit groups that get food to people in need of assistance.

  • Recommended Reading: Second Harvest Food Bank Logo

    Salvation Army Food Pantry

    The Salvation Army is dedicated to eliminating food insecurity.

    The Salvation Army operates free local food banks around Fort Smith, Arkansas from almost all of their local social service centers. The charity organization is involved in feeding millions of families each year, with a large percentage of those assisted being children as well as the elderly.

    We have located 1 Salvation Army Food Pantry locations in Fort Smith, Arkansas which provides a wide array of services. We have partnered so you can also check your eligibility.

    From Little Wooden Box To Full

    Food insecurity is a widespread issue across Fort Smith. A 2019 study conducted by the Urban Institute found that one in four children was food insecure in Sebastian County. According to the Fort Smith School District, about 73% of students receive free or reduced lunch.

    St. Bartholomews began placing non-perishable food items in the pantry, but the box would often empty out quickly with one person clear the whole thing out as opposed to taking what you need and leaving the rest, Briggs said.

    In order to provide for more people and increase the types of food offered, St. Bartholomews opened a food pantry inside the church in 2020. The pantry serves anyone in need and has a special section for veterans.

    When I started it was a few bags of groceries and then we finally got to the system I use now, which is family bags packed with basic stuff in them, said Maranda Leeper, director of the food pantry. We actually had to expand and buy more shelves. We have three freezers, and we work with the food bank.

    The giving box now works in tandem with the churchs food pantry, helping the organization to reduce food waste.

    When we see something that looks like its getting to a date where we dont feel like it is good to serve, we immediately put that in the giving box because we know itll go away very quickly, Briggs said.

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    Brownwood Life Care Center

    Brownwood Life Care Center is a 50-bed facility for children and young adults ranging in age from newborn to eighteen years. It is a for-profit organization licensed by the Arkansas Department of Human Services and the Arkansas Department of Education. Brownwood Life Care Center has a staff of over 150 employees ranging from nurses, therapists, Read more

    Northwest Arkansas Food Bank

    chinese food in fort smith


    Northwest Arkansas Food Bank was established in 1988 by a group of concerned citizens who saw the need for hunger assistance in Benton, Washington, Madison and Carroll counties. In 2017 the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank distributed more than 12.5 million pounds of food. Together with more than 160 partner agencies, the food bank is able to reach out to those in need providing nutritious food to children, the working poor and senior citizens. The Northwest Arkansas Food Bank is an affiliate of Feeding America and a founding member of the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance.

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    The Little Food Pantry Movement

    Barbie Johnson, a Fort Smith resident, had an idea to place the first little free pantry in the city in 2016.

    Johnson wanted to bring joy and hope to her community during a difficult time in her life when she was missing her children who had grown and were traveling or moving away. She was inspired by Jessica McClard, who created the first little free pantry in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

    The Creekmore Park Community Pantry marked its fifth anniversary in September.

    Its a great help for those who find themselves in a hard spot, and then down the road, they end up giving back, and thats just remarkable, Johnson said. Its really the way it should be.

    Since 2016, there have been at least 18 little free pantries in operation in Fort Smith. Each is independently run and relies on donations from community members, nonprofits and religious organizations.

    Some little pantries have disappeared or closed operations due to COVID-19. Currently, there are at least 10 active pantries across the city.

    Linda Reed, the church secretary at St. Luke Lutheran Church, regularly stocks the food pantry at 5401 Free Ferry Road. We have some people who come and ring the doorbell. Before COVID, they would come and hug me, and all their kids would hug me, Reed said. They were just so grateful and appreciative.

    She visits the pantry multiple times throughout the day, to ensure that multiple families can receive donations.

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    First Baptist Church Of Van Buren

    Resources provided by the Catholic Charity organization focus on addressing food, holiday, and immigration needs.

    Families of all religions, backgrounds, and cultures can contact Catholic Charity centers for help.

    Catholic Charities in Fort Smith, Arkansas are open to families on a first-come, first-serve basis. The centers operate during normal business hours, and provide walk-ins with groceries, food boxes, and items to prepare a meal.

    The food pantries are like grocery stores, allow clients the ability to choose the items they need from the groceries that are available on site.

    First-time clients of the food pantry will need to apply, and this is done from a one-page application. An applicant will need to provide basic household member as well as demographic information.

    We have located 0 Catholic Charities Food Pantry locations in Fort Smith, Arkansas which provides a wide array of services. We have partnered so you can also check your eligibility.

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    Free Food Pantries Soup Kitchens And Food Banks In Sebastian County

    River Valley Regional Food Bank | 5NEWS Community Spotlight

    Food programs in Sebastian County Arkansas are mostly offered by churches, charities as well as free emergency food pantries. A number of resources are provided to families in need, and range from perishable items like fruits, breads, and meats to canned goods. Hot meals like breakfast, lunch, or dinner are also offered in the Fort Smith Arkansas area. Hundreds of local families receive assistance on a monthly basis.

    Many of the food banks, pantries near you and churches provide other help as well. This can range from referrals and information on federal government and state of Arkansas food assistance programs like SNAP, to details on where to pick up items like clothing or baby formula or personal hygiene supplies. Many pantries or soup kitchens also serve free Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter meals. There is also a referral number at the bottom of this page.

    If you need help for you or your family, and need a place to turn to for free food, meals, or groceries, do not hesitate to call or stop by one of these Sebastian area food pantries or churches.

    Cavanaugh Free Will Baptist Church Only has non-perishable food only, and anyone who needs help can call this local church. The address is 2825 Grinnell Street, Fort Smith, AR 72908, phone number is 646-2806

    Central Christian ChurchLocation is 400 North Waldron Fort Smith, Arkansas 72903Provides meals, groceries and food for people in need.

    Eastside Baptist Church

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    Find Fort Smith Food Banks Food Pantries And Soup Kitchens Near You

    Homelessness In America is a free Fort Smith directory. We hope you find our list of soup kitchens, food banks and food pantries helpful. If you can help, there are currently a tremendous number of nonprofits in Fort Smith in need of donations, supplies, and especially volunteers.

    We are constantly building the most complete list of resources. Many people and soup kitchens, food banks, and food pantries are in desperate need of assistance. If you can donate or volunteer, please use the contact information we have listed for each organization. If you are in need of assistance, we have also compiled an exhaustive list of local resources.

    Before Visiting Your Local Food Bank, Soup Kitchen, or Support Center:

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