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2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Arkansas Rice Depot, Inc.

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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

47 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!

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Our church, Wesley United Methodists in Conway, AR has served the community for over 15 years with a food pantry. Almost from the beginning we have been associated with and depend on the Arkansas Food Bank to supply the bulk of donated food we provide to persons in need. We have served thousands of families averaging 3.5 persons each. Totaling the numbers is not possible but we have had an effect on thousands of persons lives. For the most part persons we help will come to us a few weeks or months and then become self sufficient. But there are some who have needed help for years, such as those disabled and unable to work or those with a serious illness and without funds. It has been my privilige to volunteer in this effort for the last 8 years since I came to this church and have had a close association with the rice depot. I have observed their efforts in helping persons throughout the state and am pleased with all those involved from the volunteers to the director. Ken

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Food for Kids has definitely been a blessing to our students. The children have been complaining less about stomach aches and headaches. I decided to place some students in this program when a teacher caught a student taking crackers out of the lunchroom and putting them in his pocket. When asked why he was doing that, he stated, "My mama is hungry." I knew then something had to be done. The students now have a smile on their faces and seem to walk a little lighter thanks to Food for Kids.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I am the director of Hope Food Pantry in Hot Springs. When I started in 2006 we served four or five families per month, by mid 2007 we had increased to 35 families per month but we ran out of food each month. In November of 2007 I applied to Ark Rice Depot for assistance and was approved in April 2008 and began receiving food. We served over 200 families, in 2009 we served 763 families and in 2010 we assisted 1397 households. Our Church is VERY small, there is no way we could have fed that many families without the assistance from the Rice Depot. We pay almost nothing for the food and they have been very generoul with their help to us. We look forward to helping even more in 2011

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We operate a food pantry in Montgomery County AR and have done so for 4+ years. We couldn't remain open without AR Rice Depot's support. Their organization is professional and highly respected in the community. They have been able to provide services and opportunities that no other food bank in the state has been able to do. We are greatful for all that they do.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I would like to say that the Rice Depot Program, has helped alot, and still giving to needy families in this Area. I have volunteer for several years,and its a God send for students. thanks for all you do.When I ask them for other items that the student ask for, and they ask no questions.and provide it to me .
thanks for the caring,Linda

8

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I thank God for the Arkansas Rice Depot. They have blessed a lot of families over the years. We serve about 125 families a month. The community that is being served by Willie O. Thomas Food Pantry is below the poverty line. Because of this, parents and other guardians have very limited resources for providing food to their families. There is 90% of children receiving free or reduce lunch in our area.

1

Client Served

Rating: 4

For the past several years I have served as a School Counselor, which has so many hidden challenges it would be hard to be fully prepared for the demands of the "job". At a professional development early in my career, I learned of the Arkansas Rice Depot and it's ability to provdie school supplies to needy students/schools. Armed with the Art Therapy training that I viewed as a way to open up the door to communication with the struggling students, I sought the resources I was unable to purchase on my own, and that began a wonderful journey with the Arkansas Rice Depot. Through the past eight years, I have had the opportunity to meet so many needs that would have otherwise gone unanswered without these generous resources provided through donations and commitment from organizations and individuals throughout the state. Now when a student comes to me hungry, I can feed them at any time of the day. When a student's family can't afford to prepare them to return to school after the summer, I can provide the students with a brand new, stuffed backpack encouraging an excitement about the school experience. When a student comes to me worried about the family's lost income, or inability to have enough food for the month, I can invite them to come weekly to take a pre-packed bag of weekend supplies home to combat the fear of a long, hungry weekend away from school. We have even joined with churches in the community to fill the gaps that sometimes exist between what the Rice Depot has on hand, and what we need., making it a collaberative experience. This is such a God-send, and I know firsthand the relief and encouragement the students encounter because these resources are there..

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

here At Polk county free store we help to feed over a 150 families a month and we wouldnt be able to do that without rice depot over 70 per cent of our food comes from them.
when we first opened rice depot was ther to help us learn the ropes and with food.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Searcy County Alternative School is located in a low economically poverty ridden part of the state. We depend on the Arkansas Rice Depot to help our students recieve food that they would not otherwise recieve. Arkansas Rice Depot has come through countless times for my school and students. When we were without water in our school for 5 days, Arkansas Rice Depot showed up with bottled water without me even calling them. The only response I got was we heard about it on the news and new you needed help. When we lost everything in my school from a fire, Arkansas Rice Depot showed up with desks, paper, pencils, supplies for students and teachers alike. I don't know what we would do without Arkansas Rice Depot supporting us and helping us throughout the year. My students lives are better, they are attending school on a regular basis, and they are more alert and in a better frame of mind because Arkansas Rice Depot is there to help them.

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

Volunteer

Rating: 4

We give food once a month or if an emergency arise. We know that everyone who receives donated food are not in need. But to see the ones that are in need being helped, makes it all worthwhile. Seeing the gratitude and realness of some of the people, makes you just want to do more. Our goal is to extend to the needs of children and families and thanks to Rice Depot we are able to reach out and touch. It is all about helping and Rice Depot helps us to help other. We are elated to be one step closer to our

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

Advisor

Rating: 4

Rice Depot and the Food For Kids program does a great job of assiting our students in need of food at home. We have several students who use this service weekly and it has been a great asset to our students. This program has made it possible for our kids to be able to focus on their studies and not worry about where their next meal may come from. This service allows us to keep the priority on learning rather than worrying about being having to help put food on the table.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a Center Director of a Head Start Program who has been served by Arkansas Rice Depot for 5 years. Each delivery has been a tremendous help to our students and their families. Ms. Rowlan and her staff are always so curtious and helpful. The coat drive has brought tears to some of the eyes of needy parents and big smiles on the faces of our students.

We are indeed looking forward to another school session of partnering with The 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

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Rice Depot and the Food For Kids program has been a great asset to our students. This program has made it possible for our kids to be able to focus learning rather than worrying about being hungry later. This is an awesome program that I am proud to be associated with!

Jennifer Robinson, RN
School Nurse

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a school counselor in SW Arkansas I serve many children from low-income families. Some of the children eat breakfast and lunch at school and may not eat again until breakfast the next day. The Food For Kids Program allows me to send backpacks full of food home with these children. This would not be possible without the Arkansas Rice Depot.

It is easy too! I email a request for food, the food is delivered right to my school and I fill backpacks and the students in need pick them up on their way to the bus.