Q&A with Connie Bledsoe with Arkansas Foodbank for 1 Million Meals

Wednesday, April 19 at 05:40 AM
Category: Arvest Community News
We’re partnering with 72 food organizations this year as part of our seventh annual 1 Million Meals initiative to raise one million meals for the hungry in our communities. Arkansas Foodbank*, one of our food partners, has been serving people in Central and Southern Arkansas for 33 years. 
It’s a pleasure to do a Q&A with Connie Bledsoe, agency relations director at the Arkansas Foodbank, to learn more about her work. She is one of the most recognizable faces at the food bank and is their longest tenured employee at 20 years strong. She has seen the impact hunger can have all across our state while she has worked with our agency members but has never wavered as a passionate champion in the fight against it. She has played a big role in strengthening our agency members and coming up with ways to make them more efficient and stable. Because of that, the food bank is able to send out 57,000 meals a day across their 33-county service area.
What’s your involvement with Arkansas Foodbank, and how did you get started?
I had to use a food pantry once in the mid 90s. The people at the pantry treated me with dignity and respect. I felt like they were so happy to assist me and my two little girls. I worked for a local school district and was off for summer break. I decided to volunteer at the Arkansas Foodbank. I wanted to give back because of the kindness the pantry showed me. After volunteering for a couple of weeks, I was offered an office position. I prayed about it and accepted the job because I felt this was where I was supposed to be. 
My involvement now is with our partner agencies. These are the groups that receive the food that is donated and collected at our warehouse in Little Rock. Our agencies are the arms and legs for the Arkansas Foodbank. They see the need first hand in their community, at their churches, in the school, on the streets, etc. There would not be a need for the food bank if we didn't have the agencies.

What’s a compelling experience you’ve had during your time with Arkansas Foodbank?
I am so proud to be a part of such a wonderful organization that makes a difference in people’s lives every day. The best part about my job is the relationship/friendship I have built with the member agencies. They are more like family. We have shared stories, laughed and cried together. We have an annual luncheon and provide grants, to the members to purchase refrigerators, freezers, vehicles, food, pay utilities or the purchase gas to come pick up the food. I wish we could provide this to them more than annually. Most of our pantries are run by elderly volunteers. They provide to the needy out of the goodness of their hearts and feel that it is their duty to help their sister or brother in need. I can't take credit for anything. Now, after 20 years of working for the Arkansas Foodbank, I know that I am in the right seat on the bus!
How can people get involved with Arkansas Foodbank? 
Supporting the Arkansas Foodbank helps people in your community. We encourage everyone to get involved in the fight against hunger. Whether it is volunteering at the food bank or local food pantry, hosting a food drive at work or at school, or educating those around you on the serious problem of hunger in Arkansas. We are stronger when we work together. 

We’d love to have you involved in our 1 Million Meals initiative to help the Arkansas Foodbank* and our other food partners.  

Four Easy Ways to Donate:
  • Donate via Phone – Customers can make a $1 (or more) donation by calling (866) 952-9523. Funds will be drawn directly from your Arvest account.
  • Donate via Mail – Mail a check to Arvest Bank Operations, ATTN: 1MM, P.O. Box 799, Lowell, AR 72745. Include 1 Million Meals in the memo line of the check.
  • Donate in a Branch – Stop by your local Arvest Bank branch. Cash and check contributions accepted.
  • Donate Arvest Flex Rewards™ – Customers can redeem points for a 1 Million Meals donation. Log in at arvestflexrewards.com, and click on the banner for 1 Million Meals to get started!
We’ll Donate $1 Each Time You:
  • Follow us on Instagram.
  • Like or share our 1 Million Meals Facebook posts.
  • Retweet our 1 Million Meals tweets on Twitter on April 21 and May 10.

Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution.  

Tags: 1 Million Meals, Arkansas, Charitable Giving, Community Support, Little Rock
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