LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Thousands of pounds of food were given away Wednesday morning by the Arkansas Martin Luther King Jr. Commission during its food giveaway for Thanksgiving and Veteran’s Day.

DuShun Scarbrough is the executive director of the commission and he said 20,000 pounds worth of food was handed out to those on Wednesday for free during their event.

William Thomas is a veteran who waited in the line of cars for the event. He said the event was a “blessing” because it helped reduce the cost they would have to spend grocery shopping for the holidays.

“It saves a lot. You know things have gotten so pricey now you know it’s hard and we’re on a fixed income as well so this really helps out,” Thomas said.

Lisa Stewart said she was grateful for the items like chicken and rice so she can save money.

In a statement about what prices grocery shoppers can expect, Tyler Oxner, director of Commodity Activities and Economics said:

“The Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation works with members of our Women’s Leadership Committee to shop for a Thanksgiving dinner at grocery stores across the state. All shopping was done in November 2023 and data from those shopping trips show that the cost per pound for turkeys purchased in Arkansas stands at $1.42, a 10-cent increase from 2022 ($1.32) or 8% higher than last year.

Although the turkey traditionally takes center stage on Thanksgiving tables, it is not the primary contributor to the overall price increase. Prices for dinner rolls surged by 67% compared to last year, while fresh celery and fresh carrots saw increases of 57% and 41%, respectively.

For Arkansas shoppers, it’s worth keeping an eye out for special deals, as we observed such promotions in the state last year.”

Tyler Oxner, director of Commodity Activities and Economics

MLK Commission chairperson Sharon Ingram said the amount of food people were handed was a good variety.

“We have chicken, and we have nonperishable, we have water so it’s something they can use on Thanksgiving,” she said.

Ingram said that based on the number of cars that were there at the event it showed how many were in need of help.

“I think it really gives them hope and it lets them know there is somebody out there that really cares,” she said.

While Thomas said he could also tell there were more cars this year compared to the previous year he went.

“We have been here once before. It wasn’t as many (cars) so that just shows you how many people are in need at this time,” Thomas said.