ARKADELPHIA,Ark.–Each week, people pack in a small room in Arkadelphia to pick out produce, but this food pantry is also a place for fellowship.
“We just want to know how they’re doing and they share with me what’s going on in their life,” said Pay it 4Ward recipient Dr. Patricia Wright.
Dr. Patricia Wright has a full time job with Arkadelphia Public schools as its Director of Special Programs and Schools of the 21st Century.
“She inspires a lot of young people, old people, people of all ages in this community,” explained Estella Forte who nominated Dr. Wright.
On her lunch breaks, you’ll find her serving her neighbors,and she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Because I’ve been so blessed in my childhood of having a village to raise me, so I’m obligated to give back,” Dr. Wright told KARK.
Even moving out state several years didn’t stop the Arkadelphia native from reinvesting in the her hometown.
“She came home on a weekend visit and told me what she wanted to do.
She said you’re retired and don’t have anything to do, so you work this until I get back home,” said Forte.
Dr. Wright wrote the grant to build the town’s Community Family Enrichment Center, where she serves as the Executive Director.
“She hit the ground running and hasn’t stopped since,” says Forte.
The more than 14,000 square foot facility is not only home to the food pantry, but also the Head Start and Adult Education programs, as well as classes for parents and seniors.
“Mrs. Wright.,she’s a blessing,” says Ermatine Johnson.
Johnson has known Dr. Wright since childhood. When Johnson’s circumstances changed and she needed a helping hand the food pantry was there.
“I come down once a week and get different supplies. It helps out a lot especially when you’re raising two teenagers.”
KARK and McDonalds of Central Arkansas surprised Dr. Wright with a $250 gift card to help stock the shelves.
“You were nominated for all of the wonderful things you do in your community and we wanted to recognize that today,” said Ronald McDonald.
She was quick to put the spotlight back on those she calls the true heroes.
“It’s a team effort. It really is. It’s the volunteers here that makes the difference.”
Dr. Patricia Wright pays it forward by practicing what she preaches.
“It’s kind of a calling. At the end of the day, it’s part of your calling to do unto others and that’s what I try to do.”
The food pantry is open Tuesdays and Thursdays, except for third Tuesday each month.