Q&A with Amber Mascuilli with River Valley Food 4 Kids for 1 Million Meals

Wednesday, April 26 at 06:05 AM
Category: Arvest Community News

For three years River Valley Food 4 Kids* has been helping children in Pope County in Arkansas. It’s a pleasure to partner with them for our seventh annual 1 Million Meals initiative to raise one million meals for the children, elderly and others in need across the 120+ communities we serve. 

To learn more about River Valley Food 4 Kids, we did a Q&A with Russellville High School teacher, Amber Mascuilli. 

What’s your involvement with River Valley Food 4 Kids, and how did you get started?
The Russellville High School has been maintaining a food pantry for our high-need students since the fall of 2012. Originally we were almost completely stocked with Rice Depot food and donations from teachers and students, but once Rice Depot became financially stressed, our program nearly went under. River Valley Food 4 Kids’ involvement in the school food pantry became a pivotal partner in our success. When they discovered the Russellville Schools, and several surrounding schools, were in dire need, River Valley Food 4 Kids jumped in and immediately made us a priority. 

We have seen the number of kids served at the high school grow each year, and this year we are regularly serving 40-44 students each week, not to mention providing snacks in classrooms where many students spend their day. It is a huge undertaking to make sure these kids choose to stay in school to get their diploma which will serve them in their future, rather than dropping out to have enough to eat. River Valley Food 4 Kids positively impacts these kids’ lives far beyond full bellies – they are facilitating their learning.

What’s a compelling experience you’ve had during your time with River Valley Food 4 Kids? 
I had assigned a summary of an article for my students to work on, and they had time over the long Labor Day weekend to complete it. One of my students did poorly on it, and she came up to me after class apologizing for her poor grade. She had apparently had no food in the house over the weekend, and found a bag of sugar in the cabinet. She drank sugar water all weekend. Long weekend, with no food, and the equivalent of nectar to sustain her. Her father had not paid the child support, and her mother was trying desperately to save the house. Through River Valley Food 4 Kids, I was able to load her up with food over the next few days, and keep her in food throughout the year. This organization changes lives. It gives hope. It supports those who want more for themselves than the hand they were dealt.

How can people get involved with River Valley Food 4 Kids? 
Of course donations are greatly appreciated and super simple through River Valley Food 4 Kids’ website*, but because they are very local, you can actually be involved in sorting, packing and delivering food to the schools. During the summer, you can help pack boxes for families who come to pick up food for their kids in our community. This organization thrives on community support, and those who are involved are rewarded with knowing kids aren’t going to bed hungry.

We’d love to have you involved in our 1 Million Meals initiative to help River Valley Food 4 Kids* and our other food partners.  

Four Easy Ways to Donate:
  • Donate via Phone – Customers can make a $1 (or more) donation by calling (866) 952-9523. Funds will be drawn directly from your Arvest account.
  • Donate via Mail – Mail a check to Arvest Bank Operations, ATTN: 1MM, P.O. Box 799, Lowell, AR 72745. Include 1 Million Meals in the memo line of the check.
  • Donate in a Branch – Stop by your local Arvest Bank branch. Cash and check contributions accepted.
  • Donate Arvest Flex Rewards™ – Customers can redeem points for a 1 Million Meals donation. Log in at arvestflexrewards.com, and click on the banner for 1 Million Meals to get started!
We’ll Donate $1 Each Time You:
  • Follow us on Instagram.
  • Like or share our 1 Million Meals Facebook posts.
  • Retweet our 1 Million Meals tweets on Twitter on April 21 and May 10.

Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution.     

Tags: 1 Million Meals, Arkansas, Charitable Giving, Consumer Protection, Fort Smith
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