Arkansas growers donate 240,000 pounds of rice to state’s food banks
Food banks across Arkansas will share in a 240,000-pound donation of rice from the Arkansas Rice Federation, Arkansas Food Bank CEO Brian Burton said at an event at the Food Bank on Wednesday.
The donation, equivalent to 1.8 million servings, will “help alleviate food insecurity” in all 75 Arkansas counties, said Newport rice farmer and federation board member Jeff Rutledge.
Rutledge announced the donation after Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders noted that September, fittingly, is Arkansas Rice Month and Hunger Action Month.
“This is a great step,” Sanders said, in “helping address the food insecurity so many Arkansans unfortunately have.”
Rutledge said the Arkansas rice industry produces about half the rice in the United States, provides 25,000 jobs and creates a $6 billion impact on the state economy, Rutledge said.
The rice federation and the food bank have a longstanding partnership, since 1982, Burton said.
“Food banks have really been squeezed,” he said, by inflation, the higher demands of the pandemic and supply chain issues.
“This incredible donation could not have come at a better time,” the Food Bank executive said.