In 1971, 61% of adults comprised the “Middle Class.” Today, only 50% of adults fit into that category. Middle Class income is down 4% since 2000 with Middle Class wealth down a staggering 28%. Today, 20% of adults are part of Low Income America – that’s one in five. And that’s up from 16% in 1971 (Pew Research Center).

  • 86% of households have annual incomes less than $20,000

  • Two out of three food pantry clients actually have at least a high school degree or GED

  • 28% are children under age 18; 20% are seniors over 60

  • 76% have incomes that fall at or below the federal poverty line

  • 88% of non-working clients are either retired, disabled, in poor health or act as a caretaker for another

The Food Bank serves an average of 70,400 people in any given month.
In 2015, 7 million pounds were distributed; enough to provide over 5,750,000 meals!

When interviewed, four out of five served households report purchasing the cheapest foods available for their families, knowing it wasn’t healthy, but motivated by the sole need to provide enough.  Every month, two out of three families report having to sacrifice buying food in order to pay either their utility bills, transportation expenses, medical expenses or housing costs.

The Food Bank takes a strong position towards attending to the health of our clients.  When undernourished children go to school,  they become underperformers.  When food-insecure seniors compromise their foods, they compromise their health.

The result is a new, five-year strategic plan that focuses on these core strategies:

Feed our neighbors in need, providing both basic sustenance and sound nutrition

Strengthen our food assistance network of food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters

Reach the underserved, who are especially vulnerable or have less access to food than others

Promote healthful eating among families in need

Mobilize community members and leaders in the fight against hunger

Food Insecurity affects the overall health and well being of our community.
It burdens our hospitals and severely impacts how our state configures its spending budget!

Diabetes
We’ve become a diabetic community.  Arkansas is ranked 5th and Oklahoma 8th in the nation for this disease.
There are about 364,000 known cases of diabetes in Arkansas with another 75,000 most likely to have the disease and not know it.  Add to that the 797,000 Arkansans that have higher than normal readings and you can easily see that this is a problem of epidemic proportions.
Diabetes costs the State of Arkansas $2.3B in direct medical expenses annually.
Regionally, known cases of diabetes exceed 80,000!
West Central Arkansas:  26,533
Northwest Arkansas:       34,098
East Central Oklahoma:   9,287
Northwest Oklahoma:     10,534

Nearly 2/3rds of those who KNOW they have the disease are still eating less than one service of fruits/veggies a day.

Age and education levels are the largest indicators of prevalence.  One in four Arkansans eventually end up with the disease.  One in seven without a high school diploma or equivalent end up with the disease.

Obesity
Obesity should not be ‘natural’ in the Natural State.  And yet, Arkansas is currently the #1 state in the nation for Adult Obesity with a rate of 35.9% — more than one-third of us are considered obese.  It’s a problem that begins in childhood and by the age of 18, 23.9% of young adults are obese.  The rate of obesity grows to 41.7% for those aged 44 thru 64, which is a rate higher than two out of five.  The disease is more chronic in Americans of African or Latin American descent.
Along with obesity, comes other life shortening conditions such a hypertension, heart disease and obesity-related cancer.

With the local cost of a meal estimated at $2.66, the total annual food budget shortfall is estimated at $24,291,000