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Pine Bluff food pantry gives away 40,000 pounds of food

On Wednesday the First Ward Living Grace food pantry in Pine Bluff gave over 40,000 pounds of food away to feed families and students home for spring break.

PINE BLUFF, Ark. — On Wednesday, the First Ward Living Grace food pantry gave over 40,000 pounds of groceries to help feed families and students that are home for spring break. 

Dozens of cars lined up hours before the food giveaway started and some of the people that were waiting said they got there extra early— and it was worth the wait. 

"It's a big help," Cynthia Simmons said.

Simmons explained that she showed up at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning, which was about six hours before the food giveaway started. 

"I just came out early, and it just be a whole day but it doesn't matter," Simmons said.

She has been spending the week with her two grandkids and said the giveaway came at a good time. 

"It's a help with kids being at home now every day," she said.

With help from the community, the food pantry was able to donate 500 backpacks full of food to help feed kids this week.

They' have also worked to help feed the elderly. 

"I help the elderly, the disabled because they don't have transportation. So I get out here certain days to go pick it up," Jacqueline Hogan explained.

The Arkansas Food Bank, Matthew Lives Matter and others helped Debra Allen be able to pull this off. 

We first introduced you to Allen last year as she looked to expand her mission of helping people.

"If it weren't for the community, we wouldn't be able to do this," Allen said.

She said people travel from out of town to attend her giveaways. 

"I get everybody," she said.

Allen also has a soup kitchen on the weekends and said it has grown tremendously in its first two months from about forty people to four-hundred. 

"They actually don't have groceries. And what people don't realize about Pine Bluff its needed real bad," she said.

She doesn't plan on slowing down with the food giveaways anytime soon. 

"It's not about me. It's what God wants us to do, block me out. I'm just his vessel. All we do is what he wants us to do is feed our people and take care of people," Allen said.

She plans to have a similar food giveaway in the fall before the kids go back to school.

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