On August 8th, Arkansas Foodbank announced the public launch of its “Bridging Hope Capital Campaign”. The Campaign will fund the construction of a 22,000 sq ft packaging and processing center for volunteers at the Donald W. Reynolds Distribution Center in Little Rock. The $4.1 million campaign serves to leverage more food donations and dramatically increase the volunteers’ production hours.
“Last year, more than 11,000 volunteers donated their time through the Foodbank,” says President & CEO Rhonda Sanders. “With the new volunteer center we can quadruple our capacity to engage volunteers – up to 44,000 volunteers annually. These volunteer hours will save us more than $800,000 a year.”
The packaging and processing center will not only engage more volunteers but also allow the Foodbank to accept larger numbers of fresh, nutritious, and perishable food. Such food donations are time sensitive – perishable – and require the Foodbank to have greater physical capacity. The new volunteer center will also allow two million more pounds of donated food to be accepted and processed annually.
Thanks to the Mabee Foundations recent award of a $500,000 challenge grant to the Bridging Hope Campaign, the Foodbank must raise a final $1.6 million from the public for the project by June 2019. “We have less than ten months to raise the balance,” says Chief Development Officer Sarah Riffle. “Thankfully the Mabee Foundation accepts pledges which can be gifted over five years. We must have gifts and pledges totaling $3.6 million by June of next year to recevie the $500,000 from the Mabee Foundation.”
Each year, 450 local partners across 33 Arkansas counties depend on the work of the Foodbank. The reward of being able to feed more Arkansans is worth it.
“More than 280,000 people a year benefit from the work of the Foodbank. 30 percent are children. 11 percent are seniors. The working poor need a bridge from time to time to overcome employment and health challenges,” says Sanders.
One in six people in Arkansas may not know where their next meal is coming from. For children the number is even higher. Last year, the organization distributed 26.5 million pounds of food to its local partners.
“Nothing can measure what it means to help everyday people take control of their lives. For these individuals, hope is a hot meal, a bag of groceries, a well-nourished child,” says Sanders. “The new Volunteer center will dramatically impact the Foodbank’s ability to reach families, children and seniors, while also better serving its partner agencies.“
To learn more about the “Bridging Hope Capital Campaign”, please contact Chief Development Officer Sarah Riffle 501.569.4319