The Fort Smith-based River Valley Regional Food Bank received a $120,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation to purchase a new refrigerated truck that will give the food bank additional refrigerated storage and allow it to better serve the community.
The truck was unveiled Friday (Feb. 12) the River Valley Regional Food Bank’s new facility at 1617 S. Zero St. in Fort Smith.
The grant – which was given to the non-profit organization through the Walmart Foundation’s State Giving Program – will expand the River Valley Regional Food Bank’s Retail Recovery Program that picks up food donations from River Valley grocery stores. This food is then distributed through any of the 196 member agencies of the food bank in an 8 county area of West Central Arkansas about the size of Connecticut.
“We are grateful for the generous monetary and food donations given by Walmart and Sam’s Club to the River Valley Regional Food Bank. We all know hunger hurts, and as many as 30% of the children in our community know this hard reality first hand. As a result of Walmart’s support, we will help alleviate the fear in children of not knowing when they will receive their next meal,” said Ken Kupchick, director of marketing and development for the River Valley Regional Food Bank.
This donation is timely with the upcoming three-day weekend in honor of Presidents’ Day and the greater need for food bank services that often accompany school holidays. The inaugural run for the truck will be used to deliver soup to participating Fort Smith and Van Buren schools. The soup distribution supports the 72% of local public school children who rely on free or reduced meals at school. For 10,400 children in Fort Smith and 4,000 in Van Buren, this would guarantee two meals on the third day away from school.
“The Walmart Foundation is very pleased to be supporting the River Valley Regional Food Bank, and is committed to helping those in need in the communities we serve,” said Michael Lindsey, Walmart director of public affairs. “Through this grant, we are hopeful underserved residents in the River Valley will benefit from the additional donations the food bank will be able to receive.”
The Walmart Foundation’s State Giving Program supports organizations that create opportunities so people can live better. The Walmart Foundation’s State Giving Program strives to award grants that have a long-lasting, positive impact on communities across the U.S.