Hunger struggle in Northwest Arkansas overlooked

Northwest Arkansas is the home of Wal-Mart, providing jobs to hundreds of residents at various levels.
Despite this economic advantage, poverty strikes many NWA residents.

Endeavour is a foundation that focuses on taking the resources in Northwest Arkansas and bringing them to the communities that wrestle with poverty. On Endeavour’s website they warn readers not to limit what they do to simply giving money away.

“Because we are a charitable community foundation, people think we exist solely to raise money, to manage money and to give money away. We do so much more than that. We connect people and organizations with ideas and resources for Northwest Arkansas.”

According to Endeavour’s website the NWA is home to multiple wealthy businesses.

The website lists companies such as Wal-Mart, Tyson Foods, and J.B. Hunt. In addition some 1,300 corporate branches of like Procter and Gamble, Coca-Cola, General Mills, Apple, etc.

With these businesses and others providing employment in the NWA, no one would expect hunger and poverty to follow it.

“Too many people go to bed hungry in Northwest Arkansas. Almost 40 percent of the hungry are children. Nearly half of our folk have to choose between buying food or medicine, or heating their home.”

There are other organizations besides Endeavour who are trying to eradicate this choice from society.

According to the NWA Food Bank website, they serve over 700,000 people annually in Madison, Carroll, Washington and Benton counties. Children under the age of 18 make up 40 percent of the people they serve. In 2013 the food bank served 98,651 senior citizens.

The NWA Food Bank provides several ways for people to involve themselves in the solution to the hunger problem. Donating to the food bank goes a long way.

Just one dollar donated helps to purchase five meals. The food bank also welcomes volunteers to lend a hand at their warehouse to help with sorting food, labeling and assisting in their office.

Another agency that is fighting against hunger is NWA Hunger Relief Inc. According to the NWA Hunger Relief website, their mission is “to combat hunger and its ensuing social issues. The organization does so by supporting other agencies through our Agency Support Division who directly touch the lives of their clients, advocating programs and policies for hunger relief and educating people on nutrition and other social issues.”

Since their start in 2011, they have donated 3,925 lbs. of food.

Even with these and many more agencies at work to provide food to the hungry, there is still a growing problem. According to Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance’s website, Arkansas and Mississippi are both neck and neck at a 19.1 percent rate of food in secure homes.

This means that children are going to bed at night without dinner, senior citizens are choosing between food and medication and parents are making decisions between paying bills and providing meals for their families.