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Saturday, October 1, 2022

AT&T, River Valley Regional Food Bank Partner to Feed Children, Families in Need

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The River Valley Regional Food Bank will start a new program beginning in October designed to combat child food insecurity in the River Valley. The RVRFB is partnering with AT&T and area law enforcement agencies to distribute Patrol Packs — tote bags of easy-to-prepare grocery items — to carry in their patrol units.

These Patrol Packs will be distributed to children in their respective communities upon the individual department’s discretion. Law enforcement agencies in the area will begin picking up the prepared Patrol Packs tomorrow morning (Friday, October 2) at the food bank’s facility, at 1617 South Zero Street in Fort Smith, beginning at 10 a.m.

Each food bag contains shelf-stable items like peanut butter, fruit cups, easy-to-prepare rice and soups, quick meal items like cereal and oatmeal, and easy-to-open canned goods and more. The items were donated by AT&T through its “Believe Arkansas” program to combat hunger. The RVRFB, along with the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, and the five other Feeding America food banks in the state, are participating in the program.

Tracy Engel, director of the River Valley Regional Food Bank, said the Patrol Packs will be distributed to area law enforcement agencies, whose officers may pass out the food kits to children they believe face food insecurity while on patrol.

“With covid-19, domestic violence has increased, more children are being home-schooled, or are latch-key children, and this gift from AT&T will hopefully alleviate some of the stress on the parents or guardians and help the child concentrate on their schoolwork more effectively,” Engel said.

The Patrol Packs will offer some much-needed assistance to the RVRFB, which is currently experiencing a 50 percent spike in demand since the covid-19 pandemic began. The food bank is on pace to distribute more than 20 million pounds of food to communities it serves. To date, the food bank has distributed more than 15.6 million pounds to the public. That translates to more than 10.4 million meals provided in the River Valley.

The Feeding America network of 200 food banks across the country has distributed more than 5.2 billion meals to residents across the nation. The food bank hopes to continue the Patrol Pack program throughout the remainder of the school year.

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Tammy Teague
Tammy is the heart behind the brand. Her tenacity to curate authentic journalism, supported by a genuine heart is one her many wholesome qualities.
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