Food Boxes

A local nonprofit feeding ministry and food broker will receive another shipment from the United States Department of Agriculture on Thursday and will hand the food out to those in need the same day.

I Feel the Need, Inc. is feeding those battling food insecurity during the global coronavirus pandemic for a third week.

Shane Willbanks, the executive director, said he will continue dispersing food locally on a weekly basis as long as the USDA continues suppling the food.

I Feel the Need is able to provide food to local residents though the USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box Program.

The Farmers to Families Food Box Program is part of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program that allows the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service to partner with national, regional and other local food suppliers to have been affected by restaurant closures – as well as other business shutdowns caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic – and purchase up to $3 billion in dairy and meat products along with fresh produce. I Feel the Need applied for and was granted assistance under the stipulation that it disperses the family-sized food boxes to families, other nonprofits as well as community and faith-based organizations that can also distribute the food.

So far, the nonprofit has handed out more than 3,000 food boxes to local families and other community partners working to feed residents battling food insecurity.

“There’s a lot of people hurting and a lot of people not working. This is a great opportunity for people to come and get fresh food,” Willbanks has said.

This week, volunteers will hand out food to those in need at Soul Food Cafe Mission, which is located at 1717 South Donaghey Ave. in Conway. Volunteers will begin handing out food to those in need on first-come, first-served basis at 9 a.m. Thursday. The event will continue until all the food is gone. Food boxes will include milk and other dairy products. Organizers hope to also hand out produce items, but that will depend on what items the USDA sends in Thursday morning.

The nonprofit is also asking those who are able to help hand out food to register to volunteer through the group’s Facebook page. Residents can also donate monetarily to the program online at ifeeltheneed.org.

Those seeking assistance through the USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box Program are not required to show I Feel the Need volunteers any documentation regarding their income or proof of residence to receive food boxes.

Staff writer Marisa Hicks can be reached at mhicks@thecabin.net.

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