Thanks to a donation of nearly 160,000 pounds of chicken from Fort Smith-based OK Foods, the River Valley Regional Food Bank organized food distribution for 4,000 families in the Fort Smith area Wednesday (April 15).
Each family going through the donation line at Kay Rodgers in Fort Smith received a 40-pound box of chicken donated by OK Foods, said Justin Bates, marketing and development coordinator with River Valley Regional Food Bank.
“We are grateful for the amazing partnerships with our corporate donors,” River Valley Regional Food Bank Director Tracy Engel said. “OK Foods has shown a commitment to the community with this generous gift of providing 106,667 meals for those in need during this crisis. We are all in this together and together we will beat this.”
Pickups started at 7 a.m. Wednesday. With both Van Buren and Fort Smith police departments and a number of volunteers helping, all boxes were distributed by about 12:30 p.m. River Valley Regional Food Bank also gave thanks to personnel at Kay Rodgers Park, the City of Fort Smith, Mayor George McGill, City Administrator Carl Geffken, Hugg & Hall, Time Striping and Geno’s Pizza of Alma.
In order to maintain social distancing procedures, those picking up food were instructed to make space in their trunks for a 40-pound box of food and to stay in their vehicle with windows up at all time.
“Our team of dedicated employees at OK Foods are working hard every day to further our mission to nourish the world and to keep the “essential” food supply chain moving in the US,” said Trent Goins, CEO of OK Foods. “We value the collaboration of our community partners and especially the River Valley Regional Food Bank for organizing this event to help alleviate some of the suffering felt by so many during the current worldwide pandemic.”
OK Foods, once one of the largest private employers in Arkansas, was acquired in a $93.4 million deal by Bachoco in October 2011. Bachoco was founded in 1952, is a vertically integrated company and its primary products are chicken, eggs, balanced feed, swine, and turkey and beef value-added products.