I Feel the Need

Volunteers will hand out free food to those in need for the fourth week in a row on Friday.

A local nonprofit feeding ministry and food broker had teamed up with several other community nonprofit organizations as it prepares for its fourth shipment of food from the United States Department of Agriculture.

I Feel the Need, Inc. volunteers will be onsite at Soul Food Café Mission, located at 1717 South Donaghey Ave., on Friday to disperse food boxes to hungry residents.

The food boxes provided through the USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box Program include milk and other dairy products. Organizers also hope to include produce items with each food box, but will not know until Friday’s shipment arrives if they will have the supplies to do so, I Feel the Need Executive Director Shane Willbanks said.

Since the nonprofit began handing out food to combat local food insecurity, it has dispersed more than 4,000 boxes of food to families and other local food banks.

Anyone in need of food is encouraged to take advantage of the free food event.

“We encourage any and all who are in need, or know those in need to take advantage of this opportunity. You don’t have to be a resident of Faulkner County; we will serve anyone. You can pick up for those who can’t pick up for themselves,” Willbanks said.

I Feel the Need will continue to supply food on a weekly basis in Conway as long as supplies are available through the USDA.

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.

“This is the fourth truck in a row that we’ve received from the USDA, and as far as I know, this will continue for several weeks, if not months,” Willbanks told the Log Cabin Democrat. “No ID or documentation is required, just show up with room in your vehicle for us to load the food boxes.”

Volunteers will begin handing out food on a first come, first serve basis at 9 a.m. Friday at Soul Food Café Mission.

Those wishing to help out during Free Food Friday can contact organizers at Facebook.com/feelingtheneed. Monetary donations can also be sent to the organization online at ifeeltheneed.org.

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

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