The waning days of summer signal the beginning of a very important time in Arkansas: the fundraising season. Beginning the first week in September and running right through New Year’s Eve, many worthy groups will ask for your support through a variety of events. What we know about this community is that residents will help.

The waning days of summer signal the beginning of a very important time in Arkansas: the fundraising season. Beginning the first week in September and running right through New Year’s Eve, many worthy groups will ask for your support through a variety of events. What we know about this community is that residents will help.


One of the first and simplest of events, addressing the most elemental of needs, is Arvest Bank’s 1 Million Meals campaign.


Participating couldn’t be easier: Any time between now and Nov. 1, take some nonperishable food to any Arvest Bank branch in western Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma or make a cash donation.


Arvest partners with the Community Services Clearinghouse in Fort Smith and the Little Rock-based Arkansas Rice Depot. But the 1 Million Meals campaign is a statewide initiative.


"The support we received from communities in the past is always overwhelming," Beth Presley, vice president of marketing for Arvest, told the Times Record. "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’s amazing that in 2014 so many people need food and need help."


That need is not unique to Arkansas. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s latest report on food security concludes that the number of families struggling to get enough food last year was essentially unchanged from the year before, according to an NPR report. That’s despite all the economic indicators that suggest the economy is improving.


The good news is that it’s really easy to do something to improve the lives of people who live right here. They work with us; they worship with us; their kids go to school with our kids. The process is easy.


• The next time you are buying groceries, pick up a couple of extra staples that you can drop off at the bank.


• You can make a donation of a dollar or more by calling (866) 952-9523.


• You can send a check to Arvest Bank Operations, ATTN: 1MM, P.O. Box 799, Lowell, AR 72745. (Include 1 Million Meals in the memo line of the check.)


• You can buy a paper can for $1 in any branch; each paper can purchased funds five meals. Write a check for a larger amount, and you can do even more good.


• You can also "earn" money for the project by sitting in front of your computer or holding your phone in your hand. Go to Arvest’s Facebook page. For every new 1 Million Meals "like" or "share," Arvest will donate $1 to the effort. "Follow" Arvest on Pinterest and Arvest will donate $1 on your behalf. "Retweet" any 1 Million Meals tweet from ArvestBank on Sept. 19 and Oct. 10, and Arvest will donate $1. Remember, every $1 funds five meals.


September is Hunger Action Month. Get a jump on fall fundraising by answering the most basic needs of your neighbors.