The River Valley Regional Food Bank (RVRFB) and OK Foods have announced a strategic partnership that will provide 500,000 pounds of chicken to the food bank over the next five years (100,000 pounds per year). On Nov. 15, the RVRFB received 27,750 pounds of chicken that will help provide 125,000 meals to families in West Central Arkansas.

“Putting this strategic partnership with OK Foods into action will provide sustained, quality protein so desperately needed by river valley families,” said Ted Clemons, executive director of the RVRFB.

Sebastian County has a child food insecurity rate of 30 percent, totaling 6,700 children in Fort Smith, Ark., alone. The RVRFB, in conjunction with the Crawford-Sebastian County Community Development Council, has completed its renovation of a new facility, which includes a new refrigeration and freezer space. This is where the first OK Foods donation will be held for distribution. The new facility allows the RVRFB to increase its capacity to service food pantries and feeding agencies across its seven-county region.

“We are excited to begin delivering on our commitment to the River Valley Regional Food Bank,” said OK Foods Sr. VP of Supply Chain Russ Bragg. “It is our goal at OK Foods to nourish the world. 125,000 meals will certainly have an impact on food insecurity in our local community.”

A member of Feeding America, the RVRFB recently upgraded its storage capacity, providing four times the freezer space and ten times the refrigeration space as the old location. The renovation will help the food bank accept large shipments of protein and produce.