John and Renee Bethel are the co-chairs of the upcoming Hunger Action Breakfast on Friday, Sept. 17, for the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance. We caught up with the Bethels to learn more about this year's event, the Hunger Hero honorees and the ongoing fight to feed hungry Arkansans.
What makes someone a Hunger Hero?
"Hunger Heroes are the individuals, organizations, businesses and schools that are dedicated to alleviating hunger and empowering Arkansans in need. They are volunteers, anti-hunger workers and advocates with a passion to ensure that no Arkansan goes to bed hungry."
What does it mean to you to be able to chair this event?
"It is an honor to serve as co-chairs of the Hunger Action Breakfast. The Alliance and its members work to eliminate hunger in Arkansas. The breakfast is an opportunity to recognize the outstanding work of some of those individuals and to raise awareness of the need to support the work of the Alliance. We are excited to play a part in this effort."
How has the pandemic affected the need for the Hunger Action Breakfast and the Acting Out Against Hunger awards?
"The Alliance, Arkansas’ six Feeding America food banks and food pantries and other organizations across Arkansas have seen significant increases in individuals in need of help to obtain adequate food to eat. Hunger has soared in Arkansas over the past year due to the health and economic ramifications of the pandemic. The state’s six Feeding America food banks distributed more than 95 million pounds of food through the charitable food network in 2020 — an increase of 30 million pounds over the previous year. We encourage all Arkansans to help in the effort to alleviate hunger in Arkansas, because the pandemic has greatly increased food insecurity."
How can people get involved in Hunger Action Month?
"September is Hunger Action Month. There are several opportunities for groups and individuals to get involved. Food banks and pantries are always in need of volunteers to help in a variety of ways. Contact the Alliance or your local food bank or pantry to seek opportunities to serve. All of these organizations require financial support to carry out their missions. Consider making a contribution to the Alliance and to your local food banks and pantries.
"Take the time this month to start the habit of doing your part to help alleviate hunger in Arkansas. You can also visit the Alliance’s Hunger Action Breakfast event website to learn more about Hunger Action Month and how you can participate as a Hunger Hero."
Anything else you would like to add about the event?
"Hopefully, individuals will take the opportunity to support the Hunger Action Breakfast either by purchasing tickets for the event or by making a contribution to the Alliance."
The 2021 Hunger Action Breakfast will be held virtually, with attendees picking up their breakfast from the Alliance curbside before watching the event livestream.
For more information on what you can do to help, contact the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance on their website or call 501.399.9999.