Arvest Bank in the Fort Smith/River Valley Region will partner with 29 local organizations for the 1 Million Meals initiative, a two-month, bank-wide effort to provide one million meals or more to those in need.
Arvest is conducting its annual initiative in the spring for the second consecutive year due largely 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. Donations also tend to be lower in the spring and summer than at other times of the year.
These organizations will receive nonperishable food and monetary donations made at Arvest branches in Northwest Arkansas and the Fort Smith/River Valley Region from April 3 through June 3. Every dollar raised through 1 Million Meals provides the equivalent of five meals for those in need.
In its seventh year, Arvest Bank’s 1 Million Meals campaign challenges bank associates, customers and community members to participate in fundraising efforts and make donations to fight hunger in the 120 communities the bank serves. Last year, Arvest Bank associates and customers raised more than 1.7 million meals. This year’s effort benefits 72 different organizations in the four states – Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma – Arvest serves.
In 2015, more than 12 percent of American households surveyed were food insecure, meaning they lacked access to enough food for an active, healthy lifestyle for all household members. Additionally, Arkansas ranks 2nd among the most food-insecure states in the nation, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.
The Northwest Arkansas and the Fort Smith/River Valley Region partnering organizations are:
United Way of Fort Smith, Fort Smith
Community Services Clearinghouse, Fort Smith Metro
River Valley Regional Food Bank, Mena
Paris 1st Christian Church, Paris
River Valley Food 4 Kids, Russellville