home about us advertise with us subscribe to Jonesboro Occasions submit an event contact download the 2008 datebook
give a gift subscription

Acre of Hope: Providing Meals for Families in Need
by Emily Merrell, photography by Melissa Donner

Each year in Northeast Arkansas, there are 12 million meals missing from families’ tables, according to a report released by Feeding America. Although the Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas was able to provide 6 million of those meals in 2019, the nonprofit organization aspires to provide even more food to area families in need in the upcoming decade with funds raised during the annual Acre of Hope fundraiser.

Kassie Williams, the development officer at the Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas, describes Acre of Hope as “a call to action for the agriculture industry to partner with the Food Bank of Arkansas to provide food assistance to people facing hunger in Northeast Arkansas.”
The fifth annual event, which will be held at the Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas on Jan. 15, is a casual and fun-filled evening, as well as an opportunity for members of the community to give back to their neighbors in need.

“A delicious steak dinner is served, including savory sides and homemade desserts,” said Williams. “Guests spend the first part of the evening listening to music, eating dinner and participating in a sweepstakes raffle. The sweepstake raffle includes eight packages that are valued between $500 and $1,000. A brief presentation from sponsors and the Food Bank takes place while guests continue their meal. The evening is finished after an exciting live auction. Trey Stafford and Tom Rhodes make the auction entertaining. There are typically four to six live auction items ranging in value from $400 to $10,000. Prize checkout is usually complete by 9 p.m.”

Proceeds from Acre of Hope are used to provide meals to those in need all over Northeast Arkansas. The food bank’s Core Food Distribution Program accepts donated bulk food items and redistributes them to more than 140 partner nonprofit agencies and programs throughout 12 counties in Northeast Arkansas. Soup kitchens, food pantries, senior centers, school backpack programs, college food pantries, mobile food pantries and emergency shelters are all among the types of programs that receive assistance from the Core Food Distribution Program.

Although the Food Bank of NEA did provide 6 million meals to families in need in 2019, they hope to grow distribution to 6.4 million meals in 2020, a five percent increase.