Organizations form food bank

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Several area organizations have joined forces in supporting the newly formed Buffalo Island Better Living Experience (BIBLE) food bank program spearheaded by the Monette Housing Authority.

Pictured are, from left: Jerry Reed, Marilyn Looney, Ernestine Harrell, Kima Stewart, Barbara Suber, Patricia Hawkins, Anna Beth Thomas, and Joyce Read

Craighead County Community Foundation board member Dr. Kima Stewart presented MHA Executive Director Barbara Suber with a check for $1,000 recently to assist in the purchase and distribution of food to area residents who qualify for assistance.

Ernestine Harrell with the Buffalo Island Leadership Association presented a check for $500 to help with the ongoing food campaign. Patricia Hawkins with the Monette Church of Christ presented a check for $150 as seed money for the campaign, with $1,500 designated in future gifts. Other area churches have pledged support, which include Bethabara Baptist Church, Monette United Methodist Church, and Sunday School classes from the Monette First Baptist Church.

"The MHA wanted to build a structure to house food for the ongoing backpack program at BIC West Elementary and for family assistance as needed locally," Suber said. "The building has been completed and we are in the process of stocking it with non-perishable food from the Arkansas Rice Depot. We have had so many people who need food during these bad economic times, and we just wanted to do something to help. By having a building to secure and sort food, we can better serve the community."

Dr. Stewart also serves as principal of BIC West Elementary.

"BIC East Elementary in Leachville established a back pack food project last year, but there was not one at BIC West," Stewart said. "We saw an opportunity to get one going over here and deeply appreciate the support for it. We are currently packing 30 backpacks a week to send home with school children. The food will help furnish good meals for them over the weekend, until they get back to school. There is a great need out there for this food program, and we can see that there are many who want to help support it."

"We have had so many volunteers donate their time and services to complete work on our BIBLE building," Suber said. "They have built shelves inside for storage and made it into a working area to pack backpacks."

Jamie Stahl will coordinate the list of volunteers agreeing to take turns in processing backpacks each week. She has established a weekly calendar, which schedules volunteers groups and needed assignments.

"The cities of Leachville, Monette and Black Oak have joined forces to help with the food depot and see to it all students at BIC have an opportunity to take part in the backpack program," Suber said. "We hope to accumulate excess supplies in Monette that can be used to help the ongoing program in Leachville."

The CCCF became an affiliate of the Arkansas Community Foundation in 2001, and is one of 27 affiliates in a 33 county area. Since its inception, the foundation has created 81 endowments and scholarships totaling $2,400,000.

"The Craighead County Community Foundation is investing in the future of Craighead County and any citizen may become a philanthropist through gifts to the foundation, and its tax-exempt benefits," Dr. Stewart said. "We know this food bank is going to make a difference in the lives of families and are pleased to make this contribution today."

For more information about the CCCF persons may contact Barbara Weinstock, executive director, at 870-935-1117.

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