Arvest Bank’s 1 Million Meals initiative challenges bank associates, customers and community members to participate in fundraising efforts and nonperishable food drives to fight hunger in the more than 120 communities the bank serves, according to a news release. 

Arvest kicked off the two-month, bank-wide effort Tuesday to provide at least 1 million meals to local, hungry families, and it will continue through June 2, the release states. The initiative will conclude later that month, when donations are presented to 75-plus locally selected organizations that feed the hungry in their communities.

Arkansas ranks fifth among the most food-insecure states in the nation, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

Arvest locations in the Fort Smith region and northwest Arkansas have partnered with 30 local organizations for the duration of the initiative, the release states. All donations received will provide meals to local, hungry families. Residents can participate in 1 Million Meals by dropping off nonperishable food items or making monetary donations at any of the Arvest branches in Northwest Arkansas or the River Valley or by calling (866) 952-9523. Arvest credit card customers also can donate Arvest Flex Rewards points by visiting arvestflexrewards.com and clicking on the 1 Million Meals banner. Every dollar raised through 1 Million Meals provides the equivalent of five meals for those in need.

“Kicking off our 1 Million Meals campaign is always an exciting time,” Rodney Shepard, Arvest Bank president in the Fort Smith and River Valley, says in the news release. “Our associates look forward to joining our local food partners, our customers and the community to fight hunger.

“The donations we raise stay local and benefit these organizations. Arvest is happy to provide a boost during the summer, which traditionally has been a challenge in terms of fundraising and providing meals to those who need them.”

Local partnering organizations are:

• United Way of Fort Smith.

• Community Services Clearinghouse, Fort Smith and Sallisaw and Poteau.

• River Valley Regional Food Bank, Fort Smith and Mena.

• Johnson Community Foundation, Clarksville.

• Paris First Christian Church.

On Friday, Arvest Bank will partner with the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. Before the game, Arvest volunteers will accept donations to the 1 Million Meals campaign while having a variety of information available. Visitors will be able to play games and take their photo at a themed “Selfie Station” while waiting in line. All those who donate will receive a voucher for free admittance to a future NWA Naturals game this season.

For information about 1 Million Meals, visit arvest.com/millionmeals.