Christie Jordan Has Full Plate at Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas

Arkansas Business 20th Annual 40 Under Forty
The original Class of 2012 profiles
2013 Updates from this week's digital edition of Arkansas Business.

Fittingly, the Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas moved into its new warehouse on Thanksgiving.

For Executive Director Christie Jordan, the warehouse was a significant step forward feeding the hungry since her recognition as an Arkansas Business 40 Under 40 honoree last year.

“We completed that in November of 2012,” Jordan said of the 56,000-SF facility that replaced the 13,000-SF warehouse. “We moved in the week of Thanksgiving. We have been going fast and furious ever since.”

The warehouse significantly increased the food bank’s cold storage space, which allows for an increase in perishable and frozen food donations of meats, vegetables and even some dairy products, Jordan said.

That in turn allows the food bank to better help people in need with their overall diet and nutritional needs.

Jordan, 40, said that in 2012 the Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas, with an annual budget of just under $1 million, distributed more than 4 million pounds of food. “We do a lot on a very limited budget,” Jordan said. “We work hard to stretch the resources the community trusts us with.”

The food bank is affiliated with other food banks across the state and offers a number of initiatives like the backpack program for schoolchildren and the senior pack program for people over 60.

The commodity distribution program sets up one-day food pantries at four to five times annually at 18 different locations.

The food bank also is involved in a collaborative gleaning program that has distributed more than 1 million pounds of food gleaned from farms around the state. “There are some farmers that set aside X poundage or so many acres of crops for collection,” Jordan said. “And there are others that, after their primary harvest has been collected, they let us come through and take their secondary yield.”

It is another program that helps with overall nutrition and is also food for the soul, Jordan said. “I really enjoy the sense of purpose that I have coming to work every day,” she said. “It’s not just a job.”