Hackler Intermediate students collect $825 to provide 4,125 meals

Photo: (front row, from left) Marlee Rorh, Declan Whitlock, Aspen Vostatek, Mary Charles McConnell, Avery Rice, Lucy Koehn, Max Bryant, Maggie Norcross, (back row) Allyson Dewey, principal; Cheyne Coverdale, Arvest Bank; Jeff Quick, Food Bank of NCA; Sally Gilbert, Arvest Bank; Ashley Hambelton, Arvest Bank; Zack Lashley, Arvest Bank; Adrienne Blackwell, Arvest Bank; Kyle Davidson, Arvest Bank.

Students at Hackler Intermediate School held a week-long change drive earlier this month to help reduce food insecurity among students in the Mountain Home School District. Donations totaled $825. Teacher Emily Jordan’s fourth grade students collected the most change of any class, totaling $119. Fifth grade teacher Chris White’s class collected the second highest amount of $75 and Michelle Pope’s class was third with $73.  Jordan’s class receives a complimentary popcorn party from the school and Arvest Bank for collecting the most donations during the drive.

All of the donations benefit a local, annual Arvest Bank initiative called Feed the Pack collecting monetary donations and nonperishable food items in support of the Food Bank of North Central Arkansas’ backpack programs and other area backpack programs. The Mountain Home School District’s backpack program is one of the many programs supported by the food bank.

Hunger relief organizations can provide five meals, sometimes more, with every dollar donated. So contributions from the students’ change drive will provide 4,125 meals to their district’s backpack programs. Such programs provide supplemental snacks for children on weekends and holidays, times when they may not always receive enough to eat, because they don’t have access to school meal programs.

Allyson Dewey, principal at Hackler Intermediate, says students there have big hearts, and that’s even more evident when there’s an opportunity to help another student or someone in the community. Dewey says it’s their hope this change drive will bridge the hunger gap for students on weekends and holidays.

Sally Gilbert, market president of Arkansas Bank in Mountain Home says these are great results and every student is appreciated for helping reduce food insecurity locally. Gilbert says food insecurity is an issue throughout the year, so the hope is that friends and neighbors will consider regular donations to their local hunger relief organization.

In April, Arvest will launch its ninth annual Million Meals campaign collecting nonperishable food and monetary donations in support of local food partners. All local donations remain local. The change drive at Hackler Intermediate School and Arvest’s Feed the Pack day are two grassroots projects in Mountain Home supporting the Million Meals campaign.

Feed the Pack will be held on April 26th. On that day, volunteers in Mountain Home and surrounding communities will be stationed at various locations to collect donations benefiting the Food Bank of North Central Arkansas and the area backpack programs it supports.

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