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Rising poverty in Arkansas since last year, Arkansas food distribution sites are seeing an increase in demand

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Arkansas – Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, Arkansas food distribution sites are seeing constant increase of number of people in need of free food.

According to the latest statistics, the demand has increased for full 7 points right now compared to the same period last year. Arkansas Food Bank spokesperson said that the major reason for this trend appears to be the pandemic.

The last food distribution event took place on Monday and the increasing number of people waiting for free food was evident.

The Disabled American Veterans chapter in Russellville said they typically see cars lined up an hour before they start giving out food.

“We’re doing a food drive for veterans only,” Disabled American Veterans Chapter 27 Commander, Rex Surrette said.

The first ever distribution event they hosted took place last year as a holiday event, but they immediately noticed the high demand of free food and they decided to host food distribution event more frequently in an effort to help to as many people as possible.

“It’s evolved from doing it over the holidays to every other month, to now we’re doing it every month,” Surrette said.

Just like many other events of this type, majority of those involved in the event are volunteers who come only to help those in need.

“These are all volunteers, about half of them are from the DAV chapter, there’s a few here from the auxiliary and others that are just friends that stopped in to help,” First Junior Vice Commander, Tom Bleau said.

They see about 150 cars pull up to their event every month. On top of that, they pack extra boxes for other veterans who may end up needing help.

“There’s a large demand in the community, of course, this isn’t the highest wage community either and a lot of people are out of work,” Bleau said.

If you are need in of food or know anyone else you may need help you can always reach out to the Arkansas Food Bank.

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