Through a partnership with UAMS Community Health & Research, the Goshen United Methodist Church Food Pantry has helped thousands of families in Washington and Madison counties.
The pantry, located at 122 State Highway 45 in Goshen, was awarded a Walmart Foundation grant as part of the UAMS Community Health & Research’s COVID Food Response project in 2020. In 2021, the pantry reached nearly 5,000 households and more than 13,000 individuals, average 92 households reached per week throughout the year. In the first quarter of 2022, the pantry reached another 1,700-plus households and distributed a more than 120,000 pounds of food.
“Community Health & Research helped put us on the map in 2020,” said Neil Carey with Goshen United Methodist Church. “Our pantry has grown and grown since then, and that would not have been possible without their generous help.”
Food insecurity is defined as a lack of consistent access to food that is safe, adequate, culturally appropriate, and nutritious. It can be temporary or long-lasting. Studies have found that food insecurity across the United States increased to 38% during the pandemic, with more than one-third of the food insecure population reporting they were “newly food insecure.” Before the pandemic, about 11% of the U.S. population was food insecure, according to Feeding America. According to the Feeding America, Arkansas ranks second in the nation for food insecurity, with 1 in 5 Arkansans struggling to provide enough food for their families.
“So many of our neighbors are struggling to keep food on their table as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Community Health & Research Healthy Food Systems Project Manager Jill Niemeier said. “We are incredibly proud of the work that Goshen United Methodist and our other charitable food partners are doing to combat food insecurity and create a better state of health for all in Northwest Arkansas.”
The Goshen United Methodist Church Food Pantry is open every Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
For more information about UAMS Community Health & Research, visit nwa.uams.edu/chr.