FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – On Saturday morning over 40 University of Arkansas student-athletes, coaches and staff teamed with Lift Up America and the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank to help distribute 35,000 pounds on protein provided by Tyson Foods, Inc., to help feed the Northwest Arkansas community.
Student-athletes and coaches from the Arkansas men’s basketball, gymnastics, men’s track and field and volleyball teams, along with several members of the Arkansas Athletic Department helped distribute 3,125 cases of protein to over 180 agencies that will help feed 720,000 residents of the Northwest Arkansas area.
The morning began with a press conference with Arkansas Athletic Director and Vice Chancellor Jeff Long to welcome and thank the NWA Food Bank and Tyson Food, Inc. for their efforts to help feed the people of Northwest Arkansas. Mike Gilbert of the NWA Food Bank and Ed Nicholson of Tyson Foods, Inc., also participated in the press conference and thanked the student-athletes for their time and efforts in this morning’s event.
This is the eighth year that the University of Arkansas has helped distribute food to the Northwest Arkansas area, and Long stated the importance of community service learning in the Arkansas Athletic Department.
“We are very proud of the development of this program,” said Long. “This began in 2008 and it is the signature program for our student-athlete community service learning. Community service learning is an important part of what we do in Razorback Athletics, and I hope our fans know and understand that we are about more than wins and losses on the competitive field and we’re more than just about getting our student-athletes degrees. Service learning projects, like today, really aid in the development of our student-athletes and helps them become outstanding citizens once they leave the University of Arkansas.”
Arkansas Student-Athlete Advisory Committee member, and SAAC Service Learning Chair, Meredith Hays was on hand to help out and said it was an overwhelming experience to be able to help so many people in the community who are fighting hunger. She added that the student-athletes who helped out today benefit greatly from knowing that they’ve made a difference in people’s lives and helped the Northwest Arkansas community.
Northwest Arkansas Food Bank was established in 1988 by a group of concerned citizens who saw the need for hunger assistance in Northwest Arkansas. Over the past 26 years, the Food Bank has grown to serve citizens of Benton, Washington, Madison, and Carroll counties. Each year, the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank distributes over seven million pounds of food in Benton, Washington, Madison, and Carroll counties. It is through partnerships with well over 150 member agencies that we are able to reach out to those in need. The Northwest Arkansas Food Bank is an affiliate of Feeding America.