FORT SMITH — Arvest Bank officials, employers and supporters have kicked off their fourth annual campaign to combat hunger in Arkansas.

FORT SMITH — Arvest Bank officials, employers and supporters have kicked off their fourth annual campaign to combat hunger in Arkansas.


The bank’s "1 Million Meals" initiative challenges bank associates, customers and others in the more than 120 communities the bank serves to take part in fundraising efforts and nonperishable-food drives to fight hunger throughout Arkansas and nearby regions, said Beth A. Presley, vice president marketing director for Arvest.


The initiative lasts through Nov. 1 and will include drop-off locations for nonperishable food items and monetary donations at Arvest branches in Fort Smith, Van Buren, Greenwood, Alma, Paris, Clarksville, Mena, Paris and Russellville in Arkansas, as well as at the Arvest branches in Sallisaw and Poteau in Oklahoma, she said. Local Arvest representatives partnered with the Community Services Clearinghouse in Fort Smith and the Little Rock-based Arkansas Rice Depot for the initiative.


"The support we’ve received from communities in the past is always overwhelming," Presley said. "We always have exceeded our goal of 1 million meals statewide and, hopefully, this year won’t be different. There is such a huge need here in Arkansas.


"It is amazing that, in 2014, so many people need food and need help," she added. "We hope for a lot of participation from the communities. Every dollar raised through ‘1 Million Meals’ provides the equivalent of five meals for those in need."


Presley said she and other organizers anticipate people of all ages donating to the initiative.


"Arvest highly believes in people helping people, and this initiative is one more way we can do that," she said. "Our communities in Arkansas desperately need it."


To donate or for information, call (866) 952-9523 or any Arvest Bank location or visit www.arvest.com/millionmeals and www.thepackshack.org.