Faulkner County students Step Up

The hunger initiative – called “Step up to the Plate” – took place the first two weeks in November with donated canned goods delivered to the 501 LIFE office in Downtown Conway. At the end of the day, the items were loaded into a trailer on loan from Nabholz Construction Corp. for transport to the Bethlehem House, a homeless shelter.

Students also collected money – much of it in loose change – to continue funding of a permanent endowment to provide financial resources to assist Faulkner County agencies that provide hunger relief. A $2,500 check, the first proceeds from the endowment, was awarded in October to Bethlehem House.

Preliminary results – 14,597 canned goods/food items were collected, and $8,630.66 donated.

“We are overwhelmed by this year’s results and the interest of young people in helping those in need in our community,” said 501 LIFE Publisher Sonja Keith. “It’s just incredible!”

Conway elementary schools participating included Ellen Smith, Julia Lee Moore, Marguerite Vann, Sallie Cone, Theodore Jones and Woodrow Cummins. Also participating were Ruth Doyle and Simon intermediate schools, Bob Courtway and Carl Stuart middle schools, and Conway High east and west campuses.

In addition to Conway Christian School, St. Joseph School in Conway collected money and canned goods.

The Greenbrier School District, including Wooster Elementary School, participated in the 2010 initiative as well as Vilonia High School. Students at Central Baptist College and the University of Central Arkansas also took part.

Julie LaRue, executive director of the Faulkner County office of the Arkansas Community Foundation, approached 501 in 2009 regarding the special hunger initiative and the endowment fund. “It is heartbreaking to learn how many of our neighbors struggle with hunger every day, right here in our community; with recent changes in our economy, hunger relief agencies have reported a significant increase in the number of people seeking assistance,” said LaRue.

“The beauty of an endowment fund is that it will provide income to hunger relief agencies each and every year, forever.” (For more information on the hunger endowment, please contact Julie LaRue at 501.932.0390 or [email protected])


“It was overwhelming to hear the reports from participating schools about their efforts,” Keith said. “It was incredible how students embraced the campaign and made every effort to collect every canned good item possible and every nickel or dime that they could manage. We are so proud of the young people in our community who worked so hard to help ensure that their neighbors – and their classmates – won’t have to go hungry.”

Each team that collected a minimum of 500 food items and $500 will have their photograph published in 501 LIFE (check out the February edition). There will also be special coverage of the team that collected the most money and canned food based on student enrollment.