The Office of Community Health and Research at UAMS has launched a community of practice focused on addressing food insecurity in northwest Arkansas. By sharing skills and experiences, the community of practice is a group of organizations and individuals who work together to cultivate new strategies to address recurring problems related to food insecurity in northwest Arkansas.
The Northwest Arkansas Food Insecurity Community of Practice is guided by a diverse advisory board of individuals who are currently experiencing food insecurity or have experienced food insecurity in the recent past.
Arkansas Children’s Northwest
Arkansas Children’s Northwest is the region’s only pediatric hospital. Arkansas Children’s Northwest, part of the Arkansas Children’s health care system, provides thousands of children in the northwest Arkansas region with access to emergency, primary, and specialty medical care — all close to home. Arkansas Children’s Northwest is committed to being right-sized for northwest Arkansas and the surrounding areas, and continues to expand programs and services every year to help meet the needs of children in our area. Some of the services available at Arkansas Children’s Northwest include: pediatric emergency room open 24/7, more than 20 subspecialty clinics, primary care, imaging services, surgery, 24 bed inpatient unit, infusion department, physical therapy, and more. Because we know that only 20% of a child’s health is influenced by healthcare, and the other 80% is affected by factors outside our walls, Arkansas Children’s Northwest is interested in being part of social resource solutions for families who experience vulnerabilities in other areas that affect their health. Through partnerships, Arkansas Children’s Northwest is working as part of the overall Arkansas Children’s system to impact food security, food systems, and other social vulnerabilities that can affect children’s health. It is by providing excellent pediatric care, coupled with addressing upstream resources, that we can fulfill our mission of making kids better today and healthier tomorrow.
Arkansas Immigrant Defense
Arkansas Immigrant Defense is a nonprofit law firm primarily serving survivors and immigrant minors. Arkansas Immigrant Defense also provides most family-based immigration legal services on a sliding scale for low-income clients. Since late 2020 in response to the pandemic, Arkansas Immigrant Defense has also provided food assistance, rental assistance, and eviction defense. In addition, Arkansas Immigrant Defense’s social work internship program has consistently helped with SNAP/WIC enrollment, ARKids enrollment, and social services referrals.
Berryville Community Center
The Berryville Community Center is a 50,000+ square foot complex that serves as a health, fitness, room rental, and activity center for Berryville, Carroll County, and beyond. We have an indoor pool, indoor walking track, weight room, aerobics room, a conference room, a large banquet hall with kitchen, and walking trails around the facility and adjacent playground, soccer field, and skate park. Our goal is to enhance health, wellness, and community life in Berryville and the surrounding area.
Canopy Northwest Arkansas
At Canopy, we are committed to welcoming and equipping refugees with the various services and skills they need to build new lives here in the United States. Since 2016, we have welcomed nearly 200 refugees to northwest Arkansas, enrolled over 50 children in school, taught over 400 hours of cultural orientation, and worked with over a dozen employers in the community.
Chestnut Meadows is a United States Department of Housing and Urban Development section 8 multi-family apartment complex located in Fayetteville. With our community outreach program, we are steadily making a difference by providing affordable housing and a weekly source of food security to our tenants.
Cobblestone Farms is a nonprofit dedicated to serving our community in the areas of hunger relief and sustainable agriculture. We operate a 25-acre farm where we grow produce and raise livestock according to sustainable or regenerative agricultural principles. We believe it is not only our responsibility to produce great food, but to do so in a way that is beneficial to our environment. We donate a substantial portion of our production toward hunger relief because we believe all community members should have access to fresh, local, nutritionally dense foods. We sell the remainder into the larger food system with a desire to continue to stimulate our local farm-to-table movement. We desire to grow this movement to better serve local farmers and consumers. We desire to raise up the next generation of farmers in our community through our apprenticeship program. We bring young, aspiring farmers and teach them how to run a profitable, small-scale, regenerative farm and then launch them out into the community. Lastly, we desire to engage and educate community members through on-farm training, education and volunteering opportunities.
Community Clinic, a Federally Qualified Health Center, has provided primary and preventive care for more than 20 years to over 41,000 northwest Arkansans annually. Regardless of one’s ability to pay, Community Clinic offers comprehensive, patient-centered care for the underserved in hopes of advancing health equity. Community Clinic’s mission is “Delivering exceptional, accessible and comprehensive care through patient-focused service to our communities.” Our goals are to increase direct services to the underserved while expanding access to affordable, quality, comprehensive health care for all. Medical services include primary care with integrated behavioral health, pediatric, prenatal and dental care. Additional services include chronic disease management, especially of hypertension and diabetes, as well as screening and referral for cancer treatment. Community Clinic also seeks to treat the individual beyond their immediate health needs, and offers patient advocacy services to provide access to critical support services for transportation and food insecurity, access to shelter, and more. With 15 locations, including eight school-based health centers, Community Clinic provides an access point for patients to receive the care that many believe to be out of reach.
Department of Human Services Division of Children and Family Services
Our mission is to keep children safe and help families. The Division of Children and Family Services will respectfully engage families and youth and use community-based services and supports to assist parents in successfully caring for their children. We will focus on the safety, permanency and well-being for all children and youth.
Together with communities, FoodCorps serves to connect kids to healthy food in school. FoodCorps’ mission is to help create a future in which all our nation’s children –– regardless of race, place or class –– know what healthy food is, care where it comes from, and eat it every day.
Full Circle Food Pantry
The Jane B. Gearhart Full Circle Food Pantry is a student-run campus food pantry at the University of Arkansas. Full Circle was established in 2011 and serves between 800 and 900 University of Arkansas and the UAMS Northwest Regional Campus community members and their families each month. Full Circle serves those currently affiliated with the University of Arkansas and the UAMS Northwest Regional Campus, including students, staff, faculty, temporary workers, etc. The Full Circle Food Pantry team is dedicated to nourishing bodies, empowering minds, and creating a community of compassion.
Little Free Pantry
Jessica McClard launched the grassroots mini pantry movement in May 2016 in Fayetteville, Arkansas, when she planted the Little Free Pantry Pilot, a wooden box on a post containing food, personal care, and paper items accessible to everyone all the time, no questions asked. She hoped her spin on the Little Free Library® concept would pique local awareness of food insecurity while creating a space for neighbors to help meet neighborhood food needs. A little over a month later, CrystalRock Cathedral Women’s Ministries planted Blessing Box in Ardmore, Oklahoma. By August 2016, the movement was global. Throughout the US and internationally, the grassroots mini pantry movement continues growing and moving. Learn more at mapping.littlefreepantry.org.
The Manna Center
The Manna Center Food Pantry and Thrift Store has been helping families in need for 28 years. We are located in Siloam Springs and serve the Western side of Benton County in Arkansas and the eastern side of Adair and Delaware counties in Oklahoma. We assist families Monday through Friday in our Brick and Mortar location and outreach three days each week to locations in other communities. In house we serve approximately 350 families each month and outreach up to 900 families. We also have started delivering food to families in quarantine through a partnering with the school, area factories and UAMS navigator. We are changing our methods to meet the many different needs of our clients. This year will be our second year to help families with over one million pounds of food. As we change to meet the needs of the communities we are building lasting partnerships with our neighbors.
Marshallese Educational Initiative
The Marshallese Educational Initiative serves the Marshallese community and non-Marshallese organizations that also serve Marshallese clients. While our mission continues to be to raise awareness of Marshallese history and culture and facilitate dialogue between Marshallese and non-Marshallese peoples to ensure greater understanding and engender empathy with a goal of positive societal change, our responsibilities have expanded due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our COVID-19 Relief and Response Project includes educating the public about COVID-19 and the benefits of the vaccine, directly assisting community members with housing and utility assistance, and collaborating with our partners, UAMS and Community Clinic, on expanded health initiatives. We are also engaged in whole health concept initiatives promoting physical and emotional well-being and other projects that address societal inequities brought to light by the pandemic.
Northwest Arkansas Food Bank
The mission of the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank is to nourish northwest Arkansas communities by feeding hungry people. Our vision is to be the leader in hunger relief by building partnerships with other hunger relief organizations. Simply stated, we collect food and distribute it through partner agencies and our own direct distribution methods to neighbors in need.
Oasis of Northwest Arkansas
Oasis of Northwest Arkansas provides safe, sober housing and resources for women in recovery and their children.
Open Arms Pregnancy Center and Food Pantry
Open Arms Pregnancy Center and Food Pantry have been open since 2001 and we serve Madison county with USDA Commodities and Emergency food. We work with pregnant families, elderly, disabled families, food insecure families and homeless. Our goal is to lift the burden of poverty off families so they can experience the joy of life.
Ozark Regional Transit
Ozark Regional Transit is dedicated to providing safe, reliable and affordable public transportation to both the rural and urban residents of the four county area within our jurisdiction.
The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army of Northwest Arkansas exists to help the people of our community. We provide food, shelter and assistance 365 days a year. In addition, we offer recovery programs, financial assistance, advocacy programs, and spiritual hope for those in need without discrimination.
Samaritan Community Center
We are a grace-driven nonprofit that serves the hurting and hungry of northwest Arkansas with dignity and compassion. Over the last 19 years, our organization has grown to include a free dental clinic, snack pack program, pantries and kitchens at locations in Springdale and Rogers. We have two Samaritan Shop thrift stores, located in Rogers and Springdale, that provide financial support to our overall center operations. We strive to provide the most nutrient dense food for our clients and have a garden that supplements our meals and groceries with organic sustainably-grown produce.
Seeds That Feed
Seeds That Feed works alongside farmers to move excess foods to accessible foods, making eating healthier a reality for thousands of northwest Arkansans who need it most. Through the collection and redistribution of surplus foods ─ directly from regional farms and retailers to under-resourced populations ─ we are able to break down barriers to healthier eating, while we help to eliminate waste. Working directly with farms, farmers’ markets, retailers, and area businesses, Seeds That Feed provides regional agri-recovery and redistribution of surplus healthy foods directly into the pantries, community meals, senior residential facilities, income-based housing complexes, neighborhoods, and directly into the homes of those living in food insecurity in Benton and Washington counties. Acting as a bridge between source and identified areas of most needs, Seeds That Feed helps make eating healthier a reality for tens of thousands of northwest Arkansans who may not have access otherwise.
St. James Food Pantry
St. James’ purpose is to restore hope and provide opportunities for people to become all that God intends them to be. Specifically, we desire to focus on helping those experiencing homelessness, hunger and poverty. Our passion is driven by our commitment to meet the needs of others, provide essential resources, increase community connectivity, and offer stability to those that call our community home. The work is critical to the health and quality of life within our community; the absence of which will lead to want and despair.
Sunshine School & Development Center
Sunshine School & Development Center was founded with a commitment to seeing potential not problems. For over 60 years, Sunshine School has helped thousands of people of all ages. For years having a disability meant being labeled or underestimated for the rest of your life. In every space, individuals with disabilities would be categorized, written off, or separated. Because of our work here, families are better advocates, students aren’t limited by their labels, and adults with disabilities thrive in their communities.
Tri Cycle Farms
Tri Cycle Farms is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, urban community farm located in the center of Fayetteville, Arkansas. Founded in 2011, Tri Cycle Farms seeks to address food insecurity in the neighboring community through food distribution and education. The mission of Tri Cycle Farms is to grow Community Through Soil as it stewards food awareness, education and empowerment. Through community engagement based on regenerative agricultural practices and equitable redistribution of foods to community members experiencing food insecurity, Tri Cycle Farms has been fulfilling its mission since the first garden in 2012.
Urban League of the State of Arkansas Young Professionals
The Urban League of the State of Arkansas is structured to lead efforts in advancing and obtaining equal opportunities for all citizens with a concerted focus on the areas of health, education, jobs and housing. We will work to advance economic and social prosperity for all Arkansans by creating access to opportunity through advocacy, community, partnerships, programs, and services.
Our strategy for pursuing this mission is:
- Ensuring that our young children are well educated and equipped for economic self-reliance in the 21st century;
- Helping adults attain economic self-sufficiency through good jobs, home ownership, entrepreneurship and wealth accumulation; and
- Ensuring our civil rights by eradicating all barriers to insure equal participation in the economic and social mainstream of America.
We are one of the few statewide affiliates of the National Urban League. Our organizational structure consists of a diverse 16-member Board of Directors with satellite offices in Springdale, Helena and the central office located in Little Rock.