Harding teams up with Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield to provide meals for neighbors in need

Harding University teamed up with Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield and The Pack Shack to pack 254,000 meals in under two hours for the food insecure in White County and surrounding areas. The meal-packing event took place Wednesday, Oct. 24 and involved approximately 600 volunteers including campus organizations and athletic teams.

The event was sponsored by Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield who launched a “Fearless Food Fight” campaign earlier this year to mark its 70th anniversary. The company has committed to packing 700,000 meals to fight food insecurity in Arkansas.

“Arkansas Blue Cross will continue to take a multifaceted approach to improving the health of our state,” said Curtis Barnett, Arkansas Blue Cross president and chief executive officer. “Our company already supports and will continue to support programs addressing the social determinants of health. However, we want to make a concerted effort to work with other organizations in the state that are committed to helping people have access to nutritious food. Great work already is being done throughout Arkansas, and we want to continue to do our part in helping to ensure our most vulnerable citizens have access to healthy food.”

Arkansas ranks second in the nation for food insecurity, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. According to a recent report, nearly 20 percent of Arkansans (roughly 1 in 5), do not know from where they will receive their next meal. The state ranks No. 1 nationally for very low food security, with 8.1 percent of Arkansas adults and children experiencing deep hunger. They may cut back or skip meals frequently. Arkansas also ranks No. 5 for senior hunger, with an estimated 240,000 Arkansans age 60 and older struggling with having enough food. Nutrition is one of several social determinants of good health.

“I think this event is a huge answer to prayer,” said senior Lexi Hoagland, student organizer for the event. “God worked in cool ways through Harding to help impact our community. I hope the meals that were made last night can let our neighbors have peace of mind knowing where their next meals will come from. I’m very thankful for The Pack Shack, Arkansas Blue Cross and Harding for letting this event come alive.”

The meals are being distributed to food pantries, churches and nonprofits throughout the area — providing a quarter of a million meals to the local community. According to a news release from Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, the meals will go to:

  • Downtown Church of Christ – Searcy

  • New Horizons International – Searcy

  • Lightle Senior Center – Searcy

  • First United Methodist Church – Searcy

  • Crowley Ridge Development Center – Augusta

  • Cabot Church of Christ – Cabot

  • Community Action Program of Central Arkansas – Conway

  • Highway Church of Christ – Judsonia

  • Park Hill Church of Christ – North Little Rock

  • Gardner Memorial United Methodist – North Little Rock

  • Van Buren County Foods-Life – Clinton

  • First Southern Baptist Church – Bryant

  • Cornerstone Church of the Nazarene – Bryant

  • Partners for Progress – Perryville

  • West Point Baptist – West Point

  • Batesville Help & Hope – Batesville

  • Broadmoor Baptist Food Pantry – Brinkley

  • Grace Community Food Pantry – West Helena

  • River Valley Food Bank – Russellville

  • Community Outreach Services – Paris

  • First Christian Church – Ozark

Learn more about the Fearless Food Fight at


About Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield

Founded in 1948, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, is the largest health insurer in Arkansas. Arkansas Blue Cross and its affiliates have more than 2,900 employees.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is comprised of 36 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans that collectively provide healthcare coverage for nearly 106 million members – one in three Americans.