Searching for Solutions: Conway non-profit feeds hundreds of Arkansans


CONWAY, Ark. –  On any given Tuesday, Traci Harvey can be found in the kitchen at the Soul Food Café Mission in Conway. Harvey and her husband, Rick, founded the mission several years ago. It started as a dream Traci had as a teenager to help feed people. 

“That was the dream that God just put in my heart. I was 19. I didn’t know really what that meant at that time, but when it came the opportunity to do it, God just grew it and it grew into this,” Harvey said. 

She never imagined it would morph into an operation where dozens of volunteers come each Tuesday to cook food and serve up to 325 hot meals every week. 

“When I see these folks get a meal or they tell me they haven’t eaten in a couple of days, my heart just breaks. I want to feed them. I want to send them home with a to-go if I have to, just whatever it takes,” Harvey said. 

One in five Arkansans do not know when they will get their next meal, according to the Arkansas Foodbank. That is why people like Christina Piro were thankful for the food she gets from the non-profit.

“Most places are once a month. This is every week,” Piro said. “There’s been plenty of times they’ve saved us, especially with two kids.” 

The Soul Food Café Mission gets about 90 percent of its food from the Foodbank or its partners.    

“We love the Foodbank. They’re amazing to work with. They really are. They come out even to see how we’re doing, how can they help us do better, how can they help in any way,” Harvey said. 

They also pass out 300 food boxes a week for people to take home. 

“Typically, we get a whole bunch of meat. The past two weeks we’ve gotten a whole bunch of meat,” Piro said. 

“It’s just so good to know that you’re in the will of God and that you’re helping his kids,” Harvey said. 

The Foodbank partners with more than 400 organizations in Arkansas. On Thursday, the Foodbank will host its Day of Giving, which is a 24-hour chance to donate and help programs, like Soul Food Café Mission. Click here for more information on how you can donate to the Arkansas Foodbank or one of its partners.

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