NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – After seeing the need in their neighborhood, one North Little Rock family created a free community pantry to help those who are food insecure.
Nora Popejoy lives in the Baring Cross neighborhood, and says she gets food from the pantry every day.
“If it wasn’t for them, there would be plenty of nights where we would be without food,” Popejoy said.
Popejoy has two grandchildren that live with her and says that she goes to the pantry to provide food for her family.
“I get up in the morning and walk down there and get something for them to eat during the day, and then I walk down there and get something for them at night, and it takes a lot of stress off of me, and I’m sure it does for everyone else around here too, I mean things are just really hard right now,” Popejoy said.
With recent natural disasters in Arkansas and widespread power outages, the Arkansas Foodbank has seen large volumes of people are their distribution events.
Ebony Mitchell, Director of External Affairs at the Arkansas Foodbank says that one in every seven Arkansans don’t know where their next meal is coming from.
“In Arkansas, about 15.5% people are struggling with food insecurity so Arkansas ranks pretty high on the numbers when it comes to people who are food insecure,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell said that Arkansans want to give in any way they can, and the foodbank is thankful for their volunteers.
The Tatum family saw a need in their community and created a community pantry. Richard Tatum said that knowing from personal experience the struggles of being food insecure, they wanted to do something to help.
“There was a time a couple of years ago, where we did have a child in our neighborhood come knock on our door and say that he was hungry, that kind of sowed the seed in us,” Tatum said.
The family says they restock the pantry daily, and see people come multiple times a day.
“My wife kind of grew up in a food insecure situation, I grew up in a food insecure situation, and we kind of know what it’s like,” Tatum said.
With a passion to serve, they stepped up to the plate, and now families in the area have a convenient way to get their next meal.
Alanna Tatum said not only did the power outages create a need, but also inflation.
“A lot of people in this neighborhood may be on WIC or food stamps, but that’s not stretching as far as it used to, and it’s harder for people to get by month to month,” Tatum said.
The Tatum family says though times are hard, they’re just blessed to provide some help to their neighbors.
“It takes a lot of stress off of me, and I’m sure it does for everyone else around here too, I mean things are just really hard right now,” Popejoy said.
To find out where the Arkansas Foodbank pantries are, visit their website at ArkansasFoodbank.com.