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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Disaster Aid, Food, Food Banks & Pantries, Public Safety, Disaster Preparedness & Relief, Youth Development

Mission: Arkansas Rice Depot is the oldest and only statewide foodbank in Arkansas.  Founded in 1982 by the Arkansas Interfaith Hunger Task Force, our name comes from the fact that Arkansas-grown rice was the first food distributed.  We haven’t changed the name, but now we give out all kinds of foods through a variety of innoviative programs.  Arkansas is one of the hungriest states in the nation; but thanks to Arkansas Rice Depot, over 65 million pounds of food has been distributed in Arkansas in the past 25 years.  Hunger still affects families, children, and the elderly in Arkansas, so our work, and our need for support continues.

Results: Last year, Arkansas Rice Depot programs served 13% of the population of Arkansas.  Through our Food For Families program we provide almost 7 million pounds of food each year to over 300 church and community hunger agencies across Arkansas.  Last year we helped feed 349,000 individuals.  Our Food For Seniors program enables volunteers to deliver 50 pounds of food and household items monthly to homebound senior in Pulaski, Saline, and Faulkner Counties who face hunger.  We serve over 25,000 children through our Food For Kids program, providing backpacks filled with kid friendly foods, personal care items and much more that is sent home with students facing hunger. We currently serve over 600 schools in the state.  Arkansas Rice Depot’s Disaster Relief program immediately activates, providing emergency relief through our food pantry partners, public schools, direct disaster service events, and even door to door if necessary. Our emergency relief efforts continue in a community as long as needed.

Geographic areas served: Arkansas

Programs: Distribution of usda commodities and donated food items to individuals through humanitarian organizations

distribution of usda commodities and donated food items to individuals

Community Stories

10 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I love Rice Depot! They serve such a need in our community! I began 3 years ago in my current position as school counselor at a rural school in Arkansas and slowly started getting the word out to kids and families in crisis about some food available on weekends through their backpack program. Now, with the support of the Rice Depot and now involved local community members, I am now feeding over 50 kids on the weekends plus a snack during the day at recess. So many kids in AR are hungry and Rice Depot offers a tremendous service to meet that need! Thank you for all your hard work!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Rice Depot is a life-saver for my clients in Faulkner County, Ar. I serve approximately 200 clients per month and the Rice Depot is the main source of food for our establishment. The folks are very helpful any time I have questions or need help with anything.
I would be lost without the Rice Depot and I am very thankful to the staff and volunteers that work there.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Arkansas Rice Depot Food for Kids Program provides food for our school to send home with needy children on a daily or weekly basis. We have assisted several families this year during their time of need. It is a wonderful service and the program is very easy to access to obtain food. Monthly deliveries are made to keep us supplied with food for our needy children.

1 Gina W.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a high school counselor in a rural Arkansas community, I see many children whose families are not able to provide adequate food in the home. Many of these students live in extreme poverty. Some also live with disabled parents or gradparents who exist on a fixed income. Unfortunately, we also deal with students whose parents have made poor decisions concerning drugs and alcohol.
I can vividly recall a young man who attends our school. At the beginning of the year, I noticed he was very thin and often appeared unkepmt. He was also very tired and had high absenteeism. When I called him into my office, I did so under the pretense of discussing his grades. As we began to meet weekly, he opened up a lot about his home life.
He and his younger brother were basically raising themselves. Their mother worked at a bar and was rarely home. The boys had no money, little food, and few household supplies. Eventually, I discovered the boys had one box of microwave popcorn in the home. They would pop one bag every day after school and split the bag.
Of course, in this instance, I did have to contact Child Protective Services. However, once their situation was resolved, I was able to provide weekly food backpacks to help sustain the boys after school and on the weekends. Mom continued to work a lot of nights and weekends, but I could rest easier knowing the boys had quality, filling foods they could quickly prepare.
Mom has stayed off drugs while keeping her bar tending job. Both boys have gained weight, have better school attendance, and are better socially adjusted to their teachers and their peers. They discreetly receive their food every week in a plain, nondescript backpack. Food For Kids has made a huge differnce in their quality of life.
This story is one of many that I could share concerning how this program has assisted students in my school. Some are just as serious; some are less serious. Regardless of the severity of the case, I sleep better knowing that I can immediately meet the needs of my students thanks for Arkansas Rice Depot and their Food for Kids Program.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am a school nurse at an elementary school in Cetral Arkansas. The Food For Kids program is a very important tool in decreasing student absences, decreasing somatic complaints, and increasing student attention spans. This program makes a big difference in many kids lives. I am very appreciative of this program and the ease of using it.
Thank you Arkansas Rice Depot!!!!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a counselor at a small school district in the Northwest region of Arkansas, I have seen many positive results from offering the backpack program. Our school district is 81% at poverty level, and the food that is sent home each weekend is greatly appreciated. The kids make sure they have their backpacks turned in every Monday morning so they can be refilled and sent home again on Friday. We have rules and guidlines that have to be followed and the kids know if they break these rules that the backpack can not be sent home with them. We have not had any trouble with it being taken out on the bus, the backpacks have been returned to be filled so this year has been a success because the ones that return the backpack every Monday are the ones that truly benefit from the food from the Rice Depot. We have had better attendance rates, and less behavior problems, and our test scores have improved. I am so greatful for the Rice Depot and all they do to help us supply our students in need with food to keep them from being hungry. We offer breakfast, lunch and a snack daily here at school so the backpacks allow them to have food in the evenings. Some of our students would not achieve very well if this was not a free service to our school. Thanks for everything.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Arkansas Rice Depot serves many families in my school district. Families can apply simply and it does not involve much paperwork which allows services to be spent directly where it is needed... on food. I can also directly see the benefits when students present hungry to school and I am able to fufill their need. The Arkansas Rice Depot Back-pack program is a valuable program that assists families in need of food.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am a school nurse at Sidney Deener Elementary School. Our zone is a very economically depressed area, so the need is tremendous. We have families living in our zone that cannot afford the bare essentials for life. Food is sometimes a "luxury." The Arkansas Rice Depot's Food For back packs program is one of the finest programs ever! On Monday's we have students come to my office with big smiles saying that they had really good food to eat for the weekend. It makes a huge difference in their health and school performance. The smiles are just a bonus for the rest of us:) Thank you Rice Depot.
Suzanne Pitts RN BSN

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This is our first year having the Rice Depot help out the students at our school. It has been a wonderful experience and they have been a wonderful resource! We have about 70 students on our backpack program and the Rice Depot has been great about donating items for these students.

We have volunteers from a church come pack the items into bags for the students and then another member of the church delivers the bags of food to the different classrooms.

We are very appreciative to the Rice Depot for all they do, and I would highly recommend their services to any other school that has a backpack program.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

It has been my honor to join the team at Arkansas Rice Depot. This is an organization with heart and determination to see that no person in Arkansas goes to bed hungry. The team truly loves each other and they labor above and beyond the call of duty everyday to meet the growing needs of the impoverished and homeless. As a new employee I was instantly welcomed and put to work. Everyday is busy and demanding, but worth it hearing the incredible stories of the lives we are helping to transform. Children are performing better in school because they are eating regularly. Families are able to pay their bills because the burden of rising grocery bills is lessened. And people are reminded that they are human and loved by God.