FAYETTEVILLE, Ark.– COVID-19 is continuing to impact the lives of many in Arkansas and local food pantries are feeling the heat.
Sage McCoy is the food program coordinator for the Full Circle Pantry at the U of A and she tells me since the beginning of COVID-19, demand has been much higher than normal.
McCoy says, “we were seeing about 750 household members a month, in the summer we were seeing about 1200 to 1300, so it was almost double.”
However, even with more demand, McCoy says new connections have been fundamental to keeping up.
“We got a new partnership with Tri-Cycle Farms this summer.” Says McCoy, “this summer he lost a lot of his distribution sites and reached out to us to see if we could use some fresh produce and goodies and we said yes please.”
The key to Tri-Cycle Farms being able to supply pantries with fresh produce are local partnerships
Owner of Tri-Cycle Farms, Don Bennett says, “In meetings with Whole Foods and talking about food waste on ways that our organization, as small as it is, can handle 100% of the food waste that comes from our Whole Foods store.”
A program that is no small task for Bennett and Tri-Cycle Farms. Bennett says, “this food that is coming from Whole Foods is actually distributed within 24-48 hour, it’s a little over 400 pounds of food every day, we go about 5 days a week, we have 8 partners in the community.”
Work that doesn’t go unappreciated. McCoy says, “we lovingly call it produce day it was crazy.”… “We have as we served 350 people in one day which is unprecedented the line was down the road people were so excited to get this food.”
Bennett says since partnering with the U of A, Tri-Cycle Farms has been able to distribute 8000 pounds of food and is very thankful it can do its part to help the community in this trying time.