Free fruits and vegetables available through pilot program

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Area residents may have noticed a lot of activity taking place Tuesdays on Walnut Street in recent weeks. The reason droves of people are there is to receive free fruits and vegetables. A new pilot program began May 29 that aims to stop hunger and provide healthy nutrition to Arkansas residents.

According to Trumann Food Pantry manager Franklin Laire, the Northeast Arkansas Food Bank in Jonesboro cooperates with the area farmers through the Feeding America program to stop hunger. He said Arkansas farmers donate their surplus of fruits and vegetables and are compensated for their donation in a small way. "They get some pay for participating in the program," Laire said. "There are ten pantries out of 100 that receive the donations. With this pilot program, we're trying to give away as much fruits and vegetables as we can. This is a new program, and we are trying to make sure it works."

According to Laire, hundreds of Poinsett County residents have been coming out for the fruits and vegetables. He said the fruits and vegetables are stored at 50 degrees when they receive them by truck, so they aim to give them away as soon as soon as possible. "If you come, we'll give them to you," Laire said.

Trumann Food Pantry volunteer assistant Chris Laire said from May 29 through June 23, a total of 31,614 pounds of fruits and vegetables were given away at the Trumann site. He said the Trumann Food Pantry receives between six and eight thousand pounds of fruits and vegetables with each delivery. Normally, the fruits and vegetables are delivered every Tuesday, but there were no deliveries June 30 or July 7 due to the food bank performing inventory. Deliveries of fruits and vegetables are scheduled to resume on Friday, July 10 and every Tuesday thereafter. Chris and Franklin Laire said they never know which fruits and vegetables will arrive. The Trumann Food Pantry is located at 610 Walnut Street, and the fruits and vegetables are given away Tuesdays from noon to 6:30 p.m. or until they run out. There are no requirements to receive the free fruits and vegetables except showing up to receive them.

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