TEXARKANA, Ark. (KTAL/KMSS) – As we celebrate the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, we’re also recognizing people in our own community who are accomplishing big things. In Texarkana, Harvest Regional Food Bank continues to expand into communities across Northeast Texas and Southwest Arkansas.
For almost 7 years now, Harvest Regional Food Bank Executive Director Camille Wrinkle has been working to reach families in need. “The rise in need has continued into 2021. Before COVID even started, Arkansas and Texas were in the top five for overall hunger and childhood hunger … what inspires me is the need is still there,” she said.
The food bank covers ten counties. Wrinkle has focused on adding resources in underserved areas. “It was just very hard to get to those rural areas, so it took us a while to increase our mobile pantries, upgrade our facilities so that we could take in and store more food.”
The food bank has also doubled the number of school campuses served through its backpack program. And, at the heart of it all are volunteers.
“We give back to our communities. Giving several hours here at the food bank is our way of contributing,” said Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club Regional President Robert ‘Truper’ Wilson. The club recently spent an afternoon packing boxes at the food bank. “Not only is it a fun time, it’s a lot of energy. They walk away knowing how many boxes they packed, how many families that served,” Wrinkle said.
With improvement, comes recognition. National nonprofit Feeding America recently commended the food bank for meeting the needs in every county it serves. Wrinkle said, “That impacts our ability to have the partnerships that we have with vendors and donors that kindof look to Feeding America’s recommendations.”
Harvest Regional Food Bank also recently received a donation from billionaire MacKenzie Scott. Wrinkle said the money will be used to upgrade its systems and replace outdated equipment.
“There have been a lot of changes, but the mission has stayed the same,” she said. “And it’s all about helping others, feeding people, meeting them where they are, and shortening the line and eliminating hunger.”