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Arkansas Foodbank in desperate need of donations as demand rises

Since March, the Arkansas Foodbank has distributed 28 million pounds of food. That is nearly double compared to 2019, but it's hard to keep up with the demand.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark — This week across the country and right in our state, we are seeing long lines outside of food banks. 

More and more people need help this year, but it's becoming difficult for the food banks to keep up with that demand. 

RELATED: 1 in 5 Arkansans struggle with hunger: How you can help

Arkansas Foodbank Annual Giving Director Sherri Jones said the demand has nearly doubled compared to last year and is leaving shelves empty at the warehouse.

"We don't want anyone to go hungry, in this day and time, no one should go hungry," she said.

Since March, Jones said the Arkansas Foodbank has distributed 28 million pounds of food.

"We've seen our pounds distributed double over this year, which is astronomical. We didn't even know we could do that coming out of the food bank," she said. 

To put it into perspective, according to Jones, on a normal year Arkansas's food insecurity rate is a little over 17%.

"It's looking like that's going to increase to over 22% for the state of Arkansas, which is huge," she said. 

Jones said that increase is showing in the lines at their 420 charitable agencies, where the supply can't keep up with the demand.

"We've had several mobile distributions where we've actually had to turn people away, which is heartbreaking," she said. 

Not wanting to turn anyone else away, Jones said, they are calling out for help as we head into the holiday season.

"We need it. We need those canned vegetables, we need the monetary donations," she said.

While every bit helps, according to Jones, the biggest need right now is anything in a can from meats, to veggies, to fruits.

"There is a shortage right now. It's hard right now to get canned food items, so that's been a tremendous issue throughout the year," she said.

Jones said whatever you can give will make a difference by spreading hope, through a hot meal, to your neighbors.

RELATED: Arkansas Food Bank employee biking 500 miles to help feed families

"A lot of families that have never had to ask for help and they're in line now for food boxes and that's heartbreaking, but it's the reality we're living in this year," she said.

There are several ways to help out the foodbank by monetary donations or food donations. Just a reminder, Giving Tuesday is coming up. That's the perfect day to give to Arkansas Foodbank here.

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