The Saturday morning heat didn’t keep hundreds of families in need from driving to Kay Rodgers Park to have their vehicles loaded with food and other necessities.
“Antioch after the Flood,” put on by Antioch for Youth and Family, served food to approximately 2,092 people in 601 families for three hours at the Kay Rodgers Park Expo Center. While families impacted by the 500-year Arkansas River flood two months ago were the focus of the event, volunteers served anyone who needed assistance.
“What we’re doing is recovery work,” said Antioch Marketing Director Ken Kupchick. “The families who have been hurt by this will be hurting for more than a year.”
The Arkansas River flood in late May and early June affected approximately 500 homes and 1,000 residents in Fort Smith, according to city estimates. It also submerged the entire town of Moffett just inside Oklahoma.
Antioch Director Charolette Tidwell said she was prompted to hold the event after touring flood damage in Moffett, which was evacuated during the flood. Tidwell also said she wanted to address the ever-present need for children in Fort Smith to have nutritious food, especially while school is out.
Approximately 21.5 percent of families who were served food at the event said they were directly impacted by the flood, according to Antioch numbers. Many were from Moffett and Fort Smith. About 29.9 percent of families who received food at the event had previously sought food assistance from Antioch.
“It’s everybody who’s coming through,” Tidwell said.
The event, held from 9 a.m.-noon at the park, drew volunteers to load vehicles with chicken, fruits, vegetables, cereal, cleaning supplies and more. They were supplied by OK Foods, Walmart and the River Valley Regional Food Bank.