Million Meals

Lisa Ray, the President and CEO of Arvest Springdale, was generous enough to share a little bit of her time and insight with us into Arvest Bank and the importance of giving, especially during the holiday season.

Lisa has been with Arvest for over 25 years. She personally has been giving to United Way since the start of her career at Arvest, and even longer! She is dedicated to giving and to United Way of Northwest Arkansas. She calls herself an “avid supporter” and “a cheerleader” for the organization. I asked Lisa why she felt it that it is important to give back and her response was:

“We believe that when residents of a community are happy, healthy and engaged in positive activities, the community becomes a better place to live. When our community is healthy, businesses and individuals thrive. Most importantly, I believe that those who have been blessed should find ways to bless others by donating their time, talent and resources.”

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Lisa and her fellow Arvest associates have found different ways to not only give back through dollars, but of time and talent, too! Arvest Bank has created an initiative that they utilize to fight hunger in the communities that they serve. This program is called Million Meals and it was started by Arvest in 2010. The program is a result of the deep recession that our communities experienced several years ago. Arvest decided that the most effective thing they could do to assist our struggling community was to provide meals to the local food pantries so that families that were suffering from financial burdens still had easy access to food.

“Arvest’s goal each Fall is to raise at least a million meals in communities where Arvest has branches, and we promote it with our associates and customers,” says Lisa.

Arvest Bank has a presence in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas. Lisa was proud to say that this year was a banner year for the program raising a record 1,652,870 meals! Wow! Lisa was quick to attribute the success of the program this year, and every year, to the generosity of Arvest customers and associates. Lisa was kind enough to share with us some personal stories that she has experienced of the generosity of our community through the Million Meals program:

“One Friday, I was attending a meeting at the Arts Center and I was wearing jeans and my Million Meals t-shirt that says that every $1 buys 5 meals and a lady (I have never met) handed me $20 and said it was for Million Meals.”

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“Earlier this week, one of our customers who has done well in the construction business handed us a check for $2,000, which will buy 10,000 meals!”

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“Last year at our “Shred It” event, we encouraged customer to bring their old bills and bank statements to be shredded and we suggested that they bring a food item for our Million Meals drive. One family arrived with a backseat full of Walmart bags that contained all kinds of food that they had just purchased for our food drive. I suspect that many of the donors experienced food insecurity at some point in their lifetime and received food from a pantry, and now they want to give back. Others give because they understand the importance of nutrition to quality of life and they want to help others.”

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Lisa and Arvest, are dedicated to helping our community thrive. The dedication is not only in the form of dollars through their United Way NWA campaign, but through actions. There are several opportunities for anyone and everyone to join in the giving season whether it be a gift of time, talent or resources! Contact Kelsey if you’re interested in seeing how you can get involved this giving season!

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