FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For More Information, Contact:
KD Reep, 501-766-1260 or kdreep@hotmail.com

LITTLE ROCK, AR (Sept. 22, 2022) – It was an unusual request, but one which would mean the difference in mobility and quality of life. Oak Forest United Methodist Church in Little Rock recently sought funds from The Methodist Foundation for Arkansas to purchase $10,000 worth of toilet paper and personal incontinence products to provide to community members utilizing the church’s Matthew 25 Food Pantry. The grant request was approved, and the pantry will now provide these items as needed.

“It was the first time we had received a request like this,” said Rev. Mackey Yokem, director of leadership ministries for The Methodist Foundation for Arkansas. “When we met with the food pantry volunteers and Rev. Jeanne Williams, who is the pastor at Oak Forest, we were able to get a better understanding of how the funds would make a difference to their neighbors utilizing the food pantry.”

Oak Forest United Methodist Church is located on Fair Park Blvd. in the University District of midtown Little Rock. The neighbors visiting the pantry twice each month include elderly Arkansans raising their grandchildren, people on a fixed income after retirement, and single parents. The people served by the Matthew 25 Food Pantry would inquire about toilet paper and personal incontinence products as well as feminine hygiene products and other personal hygiene items. The church began collecting and distributing toilet paper and personal incontinence items during the COVID-19 pandemic and learned what an impact it made on those who received them.

“We have one person in particular who has been helped by these donations,” said Deborah Keene, director of the Matthew 25 Food Bank and member of Oak Forest United Methodist Church. “She is a retired teacher, and she comes to us supplement her groceries. She asked if we might have these items as they allow her to go to her church and volunteer. On her income, she must choose to purchase these items, which are expensive, and do without other necessities, or not purchase them and stay home. To work all your adult life then have to make decisions such as these should not be something anyone should have to consider. If we can provide her these things, she can maintain some personal dignity and live her life in retirement the way she chooses.”

Matthew 25 Food Pantry serves an average of 58 families (comprised of 185 individuals) per month. Most of these families are elderly couples or individuals who are raising grandchildren. These funds will purchase toilet paper and personal incontinence products so the families who utilize the food pantry for food can use their budgets to purchase food for their families that the food pantry cannot provide. Their budgets not spent on these items also can be utilized for medicine, utilities, clothing, school supplies and any other necessity they may have. Of the $10,000 grant, $8,115.36 will purchase toilet paper and $1,884.64 will purchase personal incontinence products. The average American family uses 32 rolls of toilet paper per month, which the food pantry will provide, and the number of personal incontinence items will be purchased and distributed based on need. The cost of tax will be covered by donations in the food pantry’s checking account.  On July 31, 2023, this project will conclude, and Matthew 25 Food Pantry will provide the status of the ministry, the use of this grant’s funds and the results achieved.

For more information about Matthew 25 Food Pantry, contact KD Reep at kdreep@hotmail.com. For more information about Oak Forest United Methodist Church, visit https://www.oakforestumc.com/. For more information about The Methodist Foundation of Arkansas, visit https://www.methodistfoundationar.org/.