The new distribution center in a 10,000-square-foot warehouse at 201 Valley Road opened with a dedication ceremony this morning.
Attending the dedication were Phyllis Haynes, the CEO of the Arkansas Foodbank, and Dianne Williams, Chief Program Officer. Also attending will be Arkansas State Rep. Johnnie J. Roebuck of Arkadelphia, and Shelley Loe, Senior Community Development Officer at Southern Bancorp in Arkadelphia, who have been instrumental in facilitating the Arkansas Foodbank's establishing a branch location to better serve hungry people in the area.
The new branch office will make it easier for food pantries and other hunger relief agencies in the area to pick up food from the Foodbank. There are eight nearby agencies that initially will pick up deliveries at the new Caddo Valley Branch.
The branch is designed to serve food pantries and other hunger relief agencies in five counties: Montgomery, Garland, Clark, Hot Spring and parts of northern Dallas County.
Those counties are some of the 33 counties served by the Arkansas Foodbank in central and south Arkansas. The Foodbank is the largest source of non-government food aid for the hungry in Arkansas. The main warehouse is in Little Rock at 4301 W. 65th Street.
By establishing branches, the Foodbank can more efficiently serve outlying areas that are distant from the main distribution center. The Foodbank now has two branches -- the other one opened in Warren (Bradley County), in southeast Arkansas in December of 2010.
Currently, some of the eight food pantries in the Caddo Valley area that rely on the Arkansas Foodbank for supplies have picked up their food during weekly deliveries by Foodbank trucks to a pickup point there. Others have had to drive to Little Rock to pick up from the main warehouse. Now they will be able to schedule pickups at the new, local branch warehouse.
The Arkansas Foodbank had a partnership with an agency in Arkadelphia, but has not had a permanent presence in the area since that relationship ended two years ago. The new branch will establish a much stronger Arkansas Foodbank presence in the five-county region.
Arkansas Foodbank officials say the branch opening is another step in increasing aid to hungry Arkansans by the Arkansas Foodbank. The rate of childhood hunger in some counties means that as many as four out of five children are classified as hungry, and in some counties the rate is one in three.