Cold Repacking Center First of Its Kind in Arkansas
The Repack Room will allow more protein to be packaged in manageable portions to help serve the 567,000 Arkansans in need.
Arkansas Foodbank along with representatives from Tyson Foods and the Feeding America food banks in Arkansas announced the opening of the Foodbank’s Cold Repackaging Center. This occasion marks a collaborative effort among our state’s five food banks and the Tyson Protein Innovation Fund that will help serve more protein to thousands of Arkansans.
In our efforts to meet the needs of 567,000 hungry Arkansans and the partner agencies that serve them, the Repackaging Center helps maximize the amount of donated product we receive in order to reduce both systemic food waste and costs to ourselves and our members. Bulk meat and poultry donations as well as frozen produce can now be repackaged into manageable portions and sent out to food pantries, soup kitchens, senior centers, shelters and schools all across our state for families and individuals in need.
“12 percent of the 25 million pounds of food we distributed in 2016 was meat and poultry,” says Arkansas Foodbank CEO Rhonda Sanders. “We know that in order to provide a more nutritious mix of foods to our agencies and clients, we must find ways to increase the amount of protein we receive and distribute.”
Thanks to the Tyson Protein Innovation Fund, this center will solve that problem and serve as the centralized location for all Feeding America food banks in the state:
- Northwest Arkansas Food Bank located in Bethel Heights
- River Valley Regional Food Bank located in Fort Smith
- Harvest Regional Food Bank located in Texarkana
- The Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas located in Jonesboro and their PDO (Partner Distribution Organization), the Food Bank of North Central Arkansas located in Norfork
“We’re proud to support all of the Arkansas food banks and their efforts to better serve the community,” said Debra Vernon, Senior Director of Corporate Social Responsibility, Tyson Foods. “The Repackaging Center is a wonderful example of creating an innovative and sustainable solution in the fight against hunger.”
Bulk frozen donations secured within the Foodbank service area will be repackaged into smaller quantities and placed on our agency shopping list. Donations that are secured from outside of our service area will be repackaged and distributed back to their respective food banks. This will allow all hungry Arkansans to benefit from the increased flow of protein throughout our distribution system.
The Repacking Center originally opened in 2015 for dry bulk donations such as rice and beans. Immediately we recognized the need to also construct a cold repackaging center to increase receipt and distribution of refrigerated and frozen protein products.