Arkansas is the top rice producing state in the country and several mills around the state made a significant donation Tuesday (Sept. 22) to help the impoverished. The Arkansas rice industry donated 153,500 pounds of rice to the Arkansas Food Bank in honor of National Rice Month. The donation from seven mills will provide over 1.5 million servings of rice to help feed families, children, and seniors all across the state.
PWindmill Rice Company of Jonesboro, Riceland Foods, Inc. of Stuttgart, Producers Rice Mill of Stuttgart, Riviana Foods of Carlisle, Anheuser Busch of Jonesboro, Ralston Family Farms of Atkins and Specialty Rice, Inc. of Brinkley were the donors.
“As we celebrate Rice Month and what our industry means to this state, we also are working very hard to give back to our communities and give back to hungry Arkansans,” Arkansas Rice Council President Dow Brantley said. “We take great pride in our partnership with the Arkansas Foodbank and appreciate their efforts throughout the state.”
September is also Hunger Action Month. More than 549,000 Arkansans struggle with hunger and may not know where they’ll find their next meal. That number includes one in four children who may not have enough to eat. This rice donation will go into weekend backpacks for children, food boxes for home-bound seniors and will fill the shelves at food pantries for families in need.
The rice will be distributed across the state to the five Feeding America food banks: River Valley Regional Food Bank in Ft Smith; Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas in Jonesboro; Harvest Regional Food Bank in Texarkana; Arkansas Foodbank in Little Rock; and Northwest Arkansas Food Bank in Springdale.
“For so many Arkansans, rice is an important staple item on their dinner table,” says Arkansas Foodbank CEO Rhonda Sanders. “The number of Arkansans facing hunger has increased drastically this past year due to COVID-19. The Arkansas Foodbank along with the other Feeding America food banks in Arkansas are working diligently to meet the need and appreciate the continued support of our rice community to help us provide families with nutritious food. The total pounds donated on Rice Day and throughout the year will be divided evenly by the 75 counties within our state and distributed by each county’s Feeding America food bank to fill backpacks for children, food boxes for home bound seniors, and shelves at pantry’s for families in need.”