RUSSELLVILLE, Ar. — Arkansas continues to see an increase in the demand for food. The Arkansas Food Bank spokesperson said there’s been a 7 percent increase in demand compared to this time last year.
Monday we stopped by a food distribution in Russellville and spoke to a group that’s been seeing a huge increase in people needing help.
The Disabled American Veterans chapter in Russellville said they typically see cars lined up an hour before they start giving out food.
“We’re doing a food drive for veterans only,” Disabled American Veterans Chapter 27 Commander, Rex Surrette said.
Their food distribution event started off as a holiday thing they did last year, but now it’s turned into a more frequent commitment.
“It’s evolved from doing it over the holidays to every other month, to now we’re doing it every month,” Surrette said.
The majority of the volunteers with Disabled American Veterans (DAV) are veterans and people in the community who just want to help.
“These are all volunteers, about half of them are from the DAV chapter, there’s a few here from the auxiliary and others that are just friends that stopped in to help,” First Junior Vice Commander, Tom Bleau said.
Surrette said because they can relate they’ve built a sense of comradery to help better serve veterans in the area.
“We’re brought up through the ranks in our veteran status that asking for help is a weakness but when you’re asking for help from another veteran it’s totally different,” Surrette said.
They see about 150 cars pull up to their event every month. On top of that, they pack extra boxes for other veterans who may end up needing help.
“There’s a large demand in the community, of course, this isn’t the highest wage community either and a lot of people are out of work,” Bleau said.
They also help serve the Dardanelle, Clarksville and Morrilton veterans too.
“It’s not just in our immediate area, we try to facilitate this throughout our river valley communities so that our veterans are being taken care of,” Surrette said.
These events are done in partnership with the Arkansas Food Bank. The next distribution is October 25th.
The other dates include: November 22nd, and December 13th, from 11 am-2 pm at Disabled American Veterans Simpson/Turner Chapter 27
DAV Chapter 27 – 206 S. Pittsburg Ave, Russellville, AR 72801.
If you are need in of food or know anyone else you may need help you can always reach out to the Arkansas Food Bank.