Leading with Love


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ShaRhonda Love knows the depth of food insecurity in Arkansas. This Arkansas Foodbank Board of Directors President is also Arkansas Children’s Hospital Community Health & Safety Director. She and her husband, Senator Fred Love, have served 15 years as advocates for adequate food for Arkansans. As Arkansas Foodbank celebrates 40 years of service, it is with a reinvigorated mission to tackle food insecurity and related stigmas. The state leads the nation in food insecurity, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, and the foodbank is increasing efforts to educate Arkansans about hunger and provide access to nutritious food for Arkansans in need. This community leader believes the Arkansas Foodbank is poised for the challenge. 

“It’s crucial to highlight the critical challenges and solutions for the well-being of our state’s children,” ShaRhonda explains. “Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap report shows Arkansas as number one in food insecurity in the country today. That means one of every three African Americans, one in every seven white Arkansans and 20 percent of our Hispanic population face food insecurity. We must do better by our neighbors, and we can do so through community action.”

Formerly, as Arkansas Minority Health Commission Executive Director, ShaRhonda worked with Arkansas Children’s Hospital to develop a mobile initiative that connects with food pantries and health services. “It made sense to make healthcare services available while Arkansans in need also were getting other services like access to healthy food,” she elaborates. “From the Arkansas Foodbank’s point of view, what we want to be able to do is truly meet community members where they are.” The Arkansas Foodbank serves 33 counties in rural areas. “Being able to provide services and access to food to those we know already have disparities is important, and we truly want to be able to partner with the community.”

ShaRhonda emphasizes there are ways that Arkansans can help bridge the breach in food accessibility. “As volunteers or community activists, we think we must do something big to address an issue where we live, but the smallest things help. Take a Saturday and volunteer at your local food pantry. Learn what is most in need and vow to pick up that item at the grocery store and donate it.”

The legacy of the Arkansas Foodbank is steadfast. “Over our 40-year journey, the Arkansas Foodbank has been a lifeline for millions of Arkansans, thanks to the immense generosity of our community. This anniversary highlights that enduring spirit of support,” CEO Brian Burton reflects. “We remain committed to connecting resources so that we can continue providing this essential aid, while also striving to deepen public understanding about the true scope of food insecurity in our state and what that means for our future.” ShaRhonda encourages fellow Arkansans to commemorate this anniversary. “Send food to your local schools so students will have access to food over the summer. Whatever you do will help Arkansans have the resources to meet their needs.” She is ardent in this call to action.

“There is no reason why children or seniors in our state should go to bed hungry at night. If we all think about this, we will do what we can to make sure we’re feeding them.”


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