Food bank gets $42K grant for new freezer from Oaklawn FoundationProject HOPE officials say ‘amazing gift’ is an honor
The Sentinel-Record/Richard Rasmussen
■ From left, Oaklawn Foundation members Tiffany Tucker, Kermit Tucker, Scott Dews, Dennis Smith, Charleen Copeland, Steve Trusty, Gabe Fisher, Jean Lacefield and Becky Chote, Project HOPE Food Bank assistant director, stand in front of the food bank’s new freezer funded by a foundation grant on Thursday.Project HOPE Food Bank has received “an amazing gift” from the Oaklawn Foundation, which presented the nonprofit with a $42,000 grant for the installation of a new freezer, Becky Chote, the food bank’s assistant director, said Thursday.
“This was definitely a wish list item,” Chote told The Sentinel-Record shortly before a visit to the food bank, located at 915 Gaines St., by several foundation members, noting the freezer will be used to aid the pantries, school backpacks, feeding programs and homeless shelters served through the food bank.
“It’s a big deal,” Ted Thompson, the food bank’s director, said.
“Number one, it allows us not to have to hand load the supplies and I can order more. It will hold more,” Thompson said, noting that getting a new, bigger freezer was Chote’s idea and “I told her to go ahead and just tried to stay out of her way.”
After a tour of the Food Bank, Dennis Smith, Oaklawn Foundation treasurer, said, “The Oaklawn Foundation Board believes the grants to Project HOPE Food Bank are one of the best uses of our funds for enhancing the quality of life for our Garland County residents.”
It was “an honor” to receive the Oaklawn Foundation grant, Thompson said in a news release. “This freezer will be utilized to help seniors, families and children that reside in our community. During this pandemic, the food bank has seen an uptick in the number of people struggling with food insecurity.”
The new freezer replaces the food bank’s previous freezer that was located outside and required volunteers to “withstand the elements” while handloading the freezer one case at a time. The capacity was also very limited on the older unit, the release said.
“Now we can just run the pallets right up in there,” Chote told the newspaper. “Before, we would just have to hand them off to each other and to 80-year-olds, it’s kind of a challenge,” she said of some of their volunteers.
“The new freezer has a pallet door that will allow volunteers to unload the meat from the semi-trucks directly into the freezer. The new freezer will hold over six pallets of meats including ground beef, turkey and chicken. This is an opportune time to receive this gift, as we see meat prices rising substantially. Each of our partner agencies will benefit from a major saving, allowing them to stretch their budgets and serve more people,” the release said.
“This is an amazing gift,” Chote said. “I don’t know if you’ve priced ground beef lately, but by buying in pallet loads and big boxes, we can get it for half the price or better. Prices are going up astronomically especially on proteins. This saves the community and all the people who have struggled through the pandemic. It will make a big impact for years to come as we will be able to get the best pricing.”
Funding is “always a challenge,” she said. “Being able to withstand the growth we’re going through.”
She said the demand was less during the summer when the government was “saturating the community with USDA commodities, but now the money has been cut and all of the commodities have been cut so we’re having to work harder.”
She said seniors and children are “the hardest hit” and the “major challenge,” noting, “It’s all about impacting the health and well-being of the people in our community. The healthier our community is, the better off our financial well-being is as a community.”
Chote said the new freezer was installed by Knox AC & Heating Inc., which “brought it in in panels and set it up and put the compressor on the roof. The biggest challenge was our building had a bad roof so we had to redo the roof first and during the pandemic everything was a bigger challenge than it would be normally, so the logistics and all took us longer than what we projected.”
She said Charlie Knox and his crew were “the most amazing guys” and have helped the nonprofit in the past.
According to the release, the Oaklawn Foundation uses the money generated from Oaklawn’s gaming center to fund programs and scholarships to benefit Garland County students and seniors. The foundation “tries to be responsive to the community while focusing our grants on alignment with our mission, vision, values and areas of concentration. In pursuing its goals, the Oaklawn Foundation is committed to the support of nonprofit organizations and institutions that demonstrate sound financial management, efficient operation, program integrity and an entrepreneurial spirit.”
Project HOPE Food Bank is funded through community support, the release said. “Our facility is donated, and our warehouse staff are volunteers.”
FRESH DELIVERY: Volunteers with Project HOPE Food Bank, Charles Hood, left, and Gordon Hager unload a fresh shipment of canned goods at the food bank on Monday.
Local service organizations have extended their assistance programs to help government workers affected by the partial shutdown of the federal government.
Project HOPE Food Bank announced Friday night that it would extend its assistance program to local employees who were furloughed after food bank Director Ted Thompson decided “he could not stand the fact that so many local people were going without paychecks,” Assistant Director Becky Chote said Saturday.
Oaklawn Foundation provides equipment for food bank
The Oaklawn Foundation presented Project HOPE Food Bank a grant in the amount of $14,762 to purchase a 4,000 pound material lift and pallet shelves. The grant will complete the food bank’s expansion project started in 2015. The funding is crucial for program efficiency and will provide the added storage to warehouse pallets of food. This is important because of the increase in food distributions over the last few years. In the first six months of 2016 alone, the food bank has distributed 460,000 pounds of food compared to the 354,000 pounds distributed during the same period in 2015. The benefits of this grant will impact the community through alleviating hunger for many years to come.
Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas provides funding for backpack program.
February 4, 2016 – Hot Springs, Arkansas – Bryan K. Dorathy, Arkansas’s Regional Executive for the South and South Central Arkansas, today presented a $15,000.00 check to Ted Thompson, Executive Director of Project HOPE Food Bank. The grant from the Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas will provide food to fill back packs for children struggling with food insecurity.
Magic Screams Food & Fund Drive
Pictured Left to right: Kathy Marchese, Justine Storrie, Ted Thompson, Jessyka Hanna, April Ayers, Phil Chwalinski, Shannon Vega and Eric Hanlans.
Hot Springs Area of the Arkansas Community Foundation makes impact at Project HOPE Food Bank and other local organizations
What a day! Yesterday, November 9, 2021, A 30th Year Anniversary Reception with special honors given to 30 Year board member, first board of directors chairman, the one who was instrumental in creating the Youth Advisory Council (YAC) group for teaching youth about the art of philanthropy, and a Hot Springs champion advocate, Robert Zunick!
Followed by, our 2021 Grant Presentations recognizing 60 grants totaling $210,210.00 awarded during this 30th year to outstanding nonprofit organizations in our community. Oh, what a year it has been!
Thank you, Robert, and all who have followed your vision and taught our community how smart giving can make a better community! Nearly eighteen million dollars ($18,000,000) has been awarded by HSACF since 1991. Here's to another thirty years!
Blue & You supports seniors with food insecurity
Project HOPE Food Bank will be able to continue its efforts to help alleviate senior food insecurity in Garland County thanks to a $25,000 grant from the Arkansas Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas.
United Way of the Ouachitas Partners with Project HOPE Food Bank
Who’s hungry in Arkansas? Arkansas currently ranks highest in the nation for seniors struggling with food insecurity according to the latest report on the State of Senior Hunger in America an Annual Report from the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger. One-in-four seniors in Arkansas are faced with food insecurity. Arkansas families with children ranked among the top three in the nation by the FRAC's report on Food Hardships in America with 24.6% of our families struggling to afford enough food to feed their family.
Project HOPE Food Bank receives grant from Walmart Foundation $33 thousand to provide help to seniors.
Hot Springs, Ark., Sept. 20, 2016 – Today, Project HOPE Food Bank, Inc. received a $33,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation’s State Giving Pro gra m to assist seniors struggling with food insecurity. The program focuses on providing food to seniors to close the nutritional gaps caused by food insecurity. This grant will positively impact communities throughout west central Arkansas by providing senior emergency food boxes. The food bank partners with agencies, professional counselors, and case workers serving seniors to identify and distribute the food boxes. The agencies include area crisis centers, rural pantries, cancer centers, senior care agencies and veteran’s programs.
YAC awards Project HOPE Food Bank a grant to provide food to children in need
May 10, 2016, Hot Springs, Arkansas – YAC held their annual grant presentation at the First United Church in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The Youth Advisory Council (YAC) is an affiliate of the Hot Springs Area Community Foundation. YAC was created in 2001 as a permanent committee of the Hot Springs Area Community Foundation. This chapter was the first in the state of Arkansas, being partially funded by the Kellogg Foundation.
Ice on Ice 2021
Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce, Laurays the Diamond Center and Oaklawn Racing Casio and Resort plan the 2021 Ice on Ice to benefit Project HOPE Food Bank.
Weyerhauser helps local children
December 4, 2018 (Hot Springs, Arkansas) Weyerhauser Giving Fund has provided a grant to Project HOPE Food Bank to help local children through the School Backpack Program. The $6,000 grant will help supply food to area schools to be distributed to children when school meals are unavailable.
Project HOPE Food Bank receives a grant from the Walmart State Giving Foundation
Hot Springs, Arkansas – September 18, 2017 – Today, Project HOPE Food Bank received a $33,000.00 grant from the Walmart Foundation’s State Giving Program to assist with to help seniors, veterans and disabled facing hunger in our community. Specifically, this grant will positively impact the local community by providing food boxes to our less fortunate struggling with food insecurity.
“Receiving this grant from the Walmart Foundation’s State Giving Program is an honor for the food bank” said Ted Thompson, Executive Director, “The food boxes touch so many lives and provide a safety net for seniors in food crisis.”
State Representative John Vines and the Arkansas Hunger Relief Grant
October 26, 2015 – Project HOPE Food Bank, today announced it has been selected to receive a $2,000.00 grant from the General Improvement Funds provided by the Arkansas House of Representatives, by and through the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance. Presenting the grant is State Representative John Vines, District 25, to Ted Thompson, Executive Director of the food bank. Representative Vines is also a member of the Arkansas Legislative Hunger Caucus. The grant will be used by the food bank to purchase food for school backpack programs.
Knox A/C & Heating donates HVAC for Project HOPE Food Bank
June 19, 2017 – Hot Springs, Arkansas – Knox A/C and Heating, Inc. is donating a RUUD HVAC unit to Project HOPE Food Bank. Charlie Knox, owner of Knox A/C and Heating, Inc. said “The food bank is an organization that does a lot of good for the community. We're very proud of the commitment we've made to Project HOPE Food Bank. It's especially heartwarming to know our contribution is providing assistance to children, their families and aging seniors in the community where we live and work." Charlie went on to say: " The food bank helps so many people and we wanted to be a part of that.”