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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

23 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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

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

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

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a school nurse in a small school district with a very high poverty rate. We have many students in need of basic essentials like food, water and school supplies. Without the help of the Arkansas Rice Depot we would not be able to supply all the children in need with a snack here at school or be able to send food home with them. Since we have partnered with Rice Depot in stamping out hunger we have seen an increase in our children's happiness, alertness and learning. Children who would not have a backpack or school supplies like the other children now do with the help of the Rice Depot. They have what they need to succeed not only materially, but emotionally. Thank you Rice Depot and everyone who volunteer their time and give their financial support for helping us love and educate our students. Shawn GoodKnight, Magnet Cove School District, School Nurse.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The good work accomplished by this organization is felt by the hungry children every night that are able to eat, because of the back pack full of food they get at school,and feel good for school the next day. Ms. Laura Rhea, CEO, has given all of herself, more than just her "work time", to this great endeavor. I have seen the faces of the people helped here and it is a humbling experience to know you had a little hand in making their smile possible. Please give to this great group.

1 Barrett R.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Rice Depot is one of the most effective and focused organizations focused on ending hunger that I have been a part of. They are excellent at ensuring that everything they do is a step toward accomplishing that goal.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a great organization that helping feed the children and families who are in need. The backpack for kids program is incredible!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have delivered food to needy senior citizens for Rice Depot since 2004.
The people really appreciate the food, hugs, and concern shown for them. They are very grateful, and it is a very satisfying volunteer job.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Arkansas Rice Depot is the non-profit that is making the most difference in Arkansas in solving our hunger problem. Arkansas has the highest rate of child hunger in the nation. The are answering this need with the Food For Kids Backpack Program. It's a simple solution - give a child a backpack with a kid-friendly meal to take home after school each day and on the weekends. Hungry children can't learn. They act out in class. They get sick and miss school. Teachers see a great improvement in both behavior and grades when kids are enrolled in the FFK program. 98% of the money donated to the Depot goes to feed people - whether it be the Food for Kids Program, Food For Families, Food for Seniors, food pantries, or disaster relief. The Depot is accomplishing the most good with their resources. I'm honored to be a part of their program.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have found the Arkansas Rice Depot to be a great place to volunteer. It is very rewarding to work with such compassionate people and especially rewarding to know that many others are being helped by the workers at the Depot.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a supporter of the Arkansas Rice Depot since the mid 1980's. When I worked for a company in Stuttgart we donated obsolete cartons to the Rice Depot. Since retiring and moving to Hot Springs Village I have been volunteering at the Rice Depot for several years. This is a great organization and has helped many schools and food pantries all over the state. I am very aware of the help they have provided in the Hot Springs, Garland County area. I volunteer through Christ Of The Hills United Methodist Church mens group. The Rice Depot has helped us supply food items to the needy families in the Jesseiville, Mountain Pine area. Laura Rhea and the rest of the staff at the Rice Depot have helped with items for several Habitat Home dedications in Hot Springs of the past year. I am very proud to be associated with an organization like the Arkansas Rice Depot that helps so many people in need.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I enjoyed volunteering at the Arkansas Rice Depot, Inc. One thing that is wonderful about volunteering with this organization is that you can bring a group of all ages, and everyone can be involved on the same project. It unifies your group and crosses age boundaries. Our group not only volunteered, but also received a tour of the facility to educate us more on the mission and services of the Arkansas Rice Depot. We were treated warmly by the staff and not rushed through. I believe our group definitely has plans to go back and volunteer here again.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with this organization for several years and the work that they do providing food for the hungry students in Arkansas is amazing. They work on a shoe-string budget and manage to serve multitudes who would otherwise go home hungry from school each day. Our county suffered terribly from the ice storm in January of 2009 and Rice Depot provided emergency supplies for families who were without essentials during the weeks without electricity and water. The ways Rice Depot reaches out to meet the needs of all Arkansans are so numerous they can't all be listed but our state is blessed to have this organization working for the least and the underprivileged.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I HAVE BEEN THE VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR FOR OUR UNITED METHODIST MEN'S GROUP AT THE ARKANSAS RICE DEPOT FOR THE LAST FOUR YEARS. WHAT A SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE THE DEPOT MAKES IN THE LIVES OF ARKANSAS HUNGRY. BOTH THE BACKPACK AND SHELTER PROGRAMS TOUCH TENS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE ALL AT NO COST TO THOSE RECEIVING.THE ORGARIZATION IS WELL RUN AND TRULY FILLED WITH A SPIRIT OF SERVICE.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have helped in the warehouse about once a year for most of 2000 to 2009. I aslo have sold the Rice Depot Simple Pleasure gifts. Our folks love to use them and give them as gifts at Chirstmastime. The faith shown by the hard working and innovative folks at Rice Depot is heart warming to say the least. I am so proud of all they accomplish for hungry Arkansans.