A local feeding ministry will be able to hand out food boxes once again to those battling food insecurity in central Arkansas.

I Feel the Need will be back in action throughout October and will host four free-food distribution drive-thru events.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has agreed to send four shipments of food to Faulkner County so that I Feel the Need volunteers can distribute the food to hungry families. Food boxes will be available for pickup beginning at 8 a.m. on Oct. 9, 16, 23 and 30 at Soul Food Café Mission, located at 1717 S. Donaghey Ave. in Conway.

Since the feeding ministry was approved in July to hand out food through the USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box Program, it has dispersed more than 9,000 boxes of food to area families. On distribution days, volunteers will hand more than half the food the nonprofit food broker receives through the USDA directly to families onsite, while other food boxes are given to area food pantries from across central Arkansas so that they can provide food to families who are unable to drive to Conway.

Helping provide food to those in need has been a blessing, I Feel the Need Executive Director Shane Willbanks said.

“It’s been overwhelming,” he said of the response the free food distribution events have seen. “When I founded I Feel the Need it was not for this … we were cooking for hospital workers and firefighters. I had no idea the need that was out there.”

The food boxes I Feel the Need will receive this month look a little different than the summer food boxes.

The USDA has confirmed it would send over four shipments in October that also include protein items along with dairy products and produce.

“Boxes will be an all-in-one kit including protein, dairy, fruit and vegetables. Examples of the components will be chicken, eggs, yogurt, milk, apples [and] potatoes,” a USDA representative said. “Kits will be 30 lbs or more during this period.”

Food boxes will be available on distribution days on a first-come, first-served basis. Willbanks said the feeding ministry expects to receive 1,536 boxes each week and will hand out boxes both to area families and also to surrounding feeding ministries.

Those seeking food assistance do not have to show volunteers their ID or any other identifying documents to receive food boxes.

“No ID or documentation is required, just show up with room in your vehicle for us to load the food boxes,” Willbanks said.

To donate to I Feel the Need or for more information about the group and its food distribution schedule, visit www.facebook/feeling theneed or www.ifeelthe need.org.

Staff writer Marisa Hicks can be reached at mhicks@the

cabin.net.

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