Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Pigs Fly for Mama's Hungry Eyes

Hunger is the most extreme form of poverty. Not far away from the gated communities and corporate office parks, it is with us in Northwest Arkansas. The Ozark Food Bank is working to address the problem for the 90,000 area residents facing hunger daily, and here’s your chance to help and to feel righteous while getting a tax deduction. You can enjoy a barbecue dinner, drinks, dancing and browse through decorative pigs for a good cause at the organization's annual When Pigs Fly donation drive at the Fayetteville Town Center this Friday at 6:30. Tickets are $50 and are available from Kelly Colebar at (479) 872-8774 or by e-mail at kcolebar@ozarkfoodbank.org.

The mission of Ozark Food Bank is to “fight hunger through advocacy, education, community awareness, and the distribution of food to those in need." Last year it distributed 2.2 million pounds of food to more than 100 food pantries and human service agencies in Northwest Arkansas. Although the needs of low income area families, especially senior citizens and single parents, have increased this year, the food bank is almost $60,000 behind in monetary donations compared to last year. Why? "People are getting laid off and most two-income families can't even afford to donate because of gas prices and such," said Jan Lynn, director of the Manna Center in Siloam Springs.

Food donations also can be dropped off at 1378 June Self Drive in Bethel Heights between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. They have 24 pallets of snack cakes on hand, but they need nutritional food such as peanut butter, canned meats & fish, canned fruits & vegetables, 100% fruit juice, and dried milk. Thanks to Tyson Foods, which last week donated 38,000 pounds of frozen chicken that now is almost gone. Tyson's is also sponsoring a food drive among students at Fayetteville, Springdale, Har-Ber, Pea Ridge, Green Forest and St. Paul high schools who have volunteered to collect canned goods.

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