About Us

Most of us have never been hungry.  

Our children have never had to rely on getting a backpack from school with food to last through the weekend. We’ve never had to get food from a food pantry or rely on volunteers to deliver food boxes because we’re shut-in and elderly.

Yet there are more than 515,000 children, seniors, and families in Arkansas who don’t know where their next meal will come from.

We work to make sure those that are most hungry, have plenty of nutritious food.

Our Mission

The Arkansas Foodbank is the foundation in the fight against hunger. We find pathways to connect people, resources and food to reach those in need, providing dignity, hope and a brighter future for all Arkansans. 

Our Vision

A stronger community where hunger needs are met with sufficient access to nutritious food.

These core values guide our decisions and actions


We are stronger when we work together.


We value the dignity and diversity of those we serve, our partners, volunteers, and coworkers.

Innovation& Creativity

We seek, identify and implement the best solutions to fight hunger, meeting people where they are.


We are united in a belief to serve those in need.


We achieve our goals by maintaining the highest degree of ethical standards and by putting our values into action.

Diversity Statement

Arkansas Foodbank values the individual diversity of all employees, volunteers, donors and clients. Differences in age, race, ethnic heritage, religion, appearance, sexual orientation and many others provide experiences, viewpoints, and ideas that can strengthen and enrich our organization. We strive to create an organizational culture that values different perspectives and that is based on our organizational values. Diversity is the uniqueness each of us brings to fulfilling these values and achieving our vision.

Our Story

Arkansas Rice Depot History

In 1982, rice farmers in Arkansas realized two things: they had a surplus of their crop, and they had many hungry neighbors. They asked themselves, “How can we give what we have to those who need it the most?” From that simple question, the Arkansas Rice Depot was born and became the vehicle that our generous farmers used to share their bounties with those in need.

From the start, the Rice Depot’s mission was simple — to improve the lives of hungry Arkansans.

Farmers became the foundation of Rice Depot’s mission. In the 90s, that mission expanded with the launch of the Food For Kids program thanks to an Arkansas public school nurse who noticed some children arriving at school hungry. The backpack program has been replicated in over 40 states and Mexico because of its effectiveness in addressing childhood hunger.

Arkansas Foodbank History

The Arkansas Foodbank was created on January 17, 1984 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization to serve several central south Arkansas counties by providing an affordable and credible food source for local agencies serving hungry people in the state. By 1986 the Arkansas Foodbank had its first year of distributing 1 million pounds of food. In the 1989 the Foodbank became a member of the Feeding America national network and gained more assistance for acquiring and distributing food. Since that time the organization has grown to include 450 local partner agencies and delivering over 24 million pounds of food in AF’s 33-county service area. According to the 2014 Hunger in America study the Foodbank serves 280,000 people.

The Arkansas Foodbank has had several locations since it was founded in 1984 including a location on Brown Street and an old UPS building on Distribution Dr. in southwest Little Rock. Today the Foodbank is located at 4301 W 65th Street in Little Rock at the Donald W. Reynolds Distribution Center that was built for the organization 2011. From this distribution center the Arkansas Foodbank operates 8 trucks to deliver and pick up food daily, Summer/After School programs and back packs for children, local agency food pick up, training and capacity building as well as volunteer and fundraising activities.

The Merger

About The Merger with the Arkansas Foodbank

United by a common goal to fight hunger in Arkansas, the Arkansas Foodbank and Arkansas Rice Depot have joined together to better fulfill their shared mission of providing hungry Arkansans with more healthy and nutritious food. Mindful of our roots, the new organization will recognize the successful history and honor the legacy of both entities. Uniting the two organizations creates one that is stronger going forward and better able to serve those in need.

Simply put, this merger allows us to do what we have always done even better!

Going Forward

While both the Rice Depot and the Foodbank have come a long way in the past 30 years there is still a need to help those who are hungry. Arkansas ranks second in food insecurity according to the USDA  and second in child hunger according to Feeding America. Furthermore, Arkansas ranks in the top 5 for senior hunger and severe hunger.  That is yet another indicator that hunger deserves to be a top news story in the state of Arkansas.

The Foodbank is constantly looking for better and more efficient ways to acquire, store and deliver much-needed food to those we serve. Additionally, the Foodbank has grown its capacity to handle fresh produce and has goals to continue to grow the amount of nutritious foods available to clients.

Key Points

  • On January 1, 2016, The Arkansas Foodbank and Arkansas Rice Depot became the Arkansas Foodbank: United to Fight Hunger. The new brand image reflects the partnership and honors the legacies of both organizations.
  • Strong board oversight, as well as agency and donor input, have driven decision-making.
  • This partnership combines unique and effective approaches to addressing food insecurity. Arkansas Rice Depot’s Food For Kids program has been replicated in over 40 states and Mexico because of its effectiveness in addressing childhood hunger and will remain a focus area; Arkansas Foodbank’s local and national partnerships allow it to procure large quantities of food and other resources to distribute to Arkansans in need. This will not change. By coming together, we will improve upon what each organization did well and use our collective expertise to implement new and innovative programming focused on serving hungry Arkansans with more healthy and nutritious food.
  • Simply put, this merger allows us to do what we have always done even better.
  • Both organizations have long defined success as increasing the quality and quantity of food delivered to hungry Arkansans. Together, we will find better solutions to achieve our shared goal of fighting hunger in our state.

Arkansas Foodbank + Arkansas Rice Depot: United to Fight Hunger

Hunger Simulation

Take the challenge to walk a day in the life of those we serve.  This 5 minute simulation will give you a better perspective of the challenges those we serve are facing day in and day out.  Click here to check it out.


Arkansas Foodbank is a member of Feeding America and the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance.

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