Sparkman community food pantry to open

SPARKMAN — A grand opening will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday at the first community food pantry in Sparkman in Dallas County, according to a spokesman with the Arkansas Foodbank.

Called the Sparkman Food Pantry, it will become a member of the Caddo Valley Branch of the Arkansas Foodbank. Organizers will pick up food supplies from the Caddo Valley warehouse near Arkadelphia.

“This is a wonderful group of dedicated individuals who have worked tirelessly to make this pantry a reality,” said Peggy Vickers, Arkansas Foodbank’s community relations director, who assisted with the startup. “It is a real joy to see a community come together and work so hard to accomplish their goal of feeding the hungry.”

Mayor Henry Nalls, a life-long resident of Sparkman, with the city council are spearheading the effort to create the pantry. Dallas County Judge Jimmy Jones has supported the effort. A vacant doctor’s clinic was donated for the site of the pantry, with lumber donated to build shelves to hold canned goods and other food and supplies.

Nalls and a friend built the shelves in the separate clinic offices. Jones was helpful in securing donated appliances, including a large commercial refrigerator for the pantry. Entergy Arkansas also made it possible to begin electrical service to the pantry.

Sylvia Savage, the pastor’s wife from Sparkman United Methodist Church, assisted in many ways, including volunteer recruitment. Savage was able to get the use of a freezer from the community center with Rev. Kevin Moss’ approval. The community center is located across the street from the pantry. About 15 volunteers have been recruited to assist with regular operation of the pantry, which will be open weekly on Fridays from 1 to 5 p.m.

Area churches contributed to raise funds for the pantry and local businesses have chipped in.

Local officials, donors, and the community are invited to be on hand for the official opening of the food pantry and to unload a truckload of food provided free by the Arkansas Foodbank to help the pantry get started. Program services staff at the Arkansas Foodbank will also attend.

Details: Contact Sparkman Food Pantry President Henry Nalls at 870-678-3001.