The Arkansas Rice Depot in Little Rock received a 120 thousand pound donation of rice Thursday morning.
Several rice mills across the state donated the rice to help combat hunger in Arkansas.
According to a report released by the Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Arkansas ranks 1st in food insecurity.
Brandi Johnston, Community Development Director of the Arkansas Rice Depot says the donation will help meet the needs of the hungry in our state.
“Just over 19 percent of our population is going hungry, so something like rice is an invaluable resource to us. It’s something we can get out quickly and that families can do so many different things with. It is meeting a real need in almost an epidemic of sorts in our state,” Johnston said.
The Rice Depot is the largest food bank in Arkansas. It provides food to more than 300 food banks and pantries in the state and supplies food for backpack programs in more than 650 Arkansas schools.
Johnston says rice is the perfect donation.
“It’s something they can make a complete meal with. They can make some chicken and some rice and some veggies.” Johnston says. “We love to be able to offer complete meals that a family can sitdown at a table and have a meal together that may not otherwise have that option because their incomes may be limited where they’re not able to provide meals on a regular basis.”
Arkansas produces nearly nine billion pounds of rice each year, making it the largest rice-growing state in the nation.
The rice mills that donated were Cormier Rice Milling, Horizon Seed, ProducersRice Mill, Riceland Foods, Riviana Foods, Specialty Rice, and Windmill Rice Company.
After the event, Governor Mike Beebe declared September as Arkansas Rice Month.