If you ask Kristin Foster what her typical day looks like during the summer, don’t expect to hear about plans for a beach day or her time spent relaxing at the spa. Instead, she’ll probably tell you that her plan entails spreading the word about her organization, River Valley Food 4 Kids, and how she goes to sleep at night hoping every child in her town is well fed and nourished.
River Valley Food 4 Kids is based out of Pope County, Arkansas, and strives to put an end to childhood hunger in the local community. Though 1 in 4 kids in the state doesn’t have enough to eat, Kristin, the Executive Director, hopes to drastically reduce that statistic through their weekly summer food packages. In 2017 alone, River Valley Food 4 Kids provided about 218,000 meals. To achieve this feat, the organization relies on donations from the community as well as corporate partners. But spreading the word to attract new donors can be difficult when most resources are dedicated to running the program, which is why Quality Logo Products® wants to lend a hand.
River Valley Food 4 Kids was selected as the winner for our monthly $500 Give Your Brand a Hand initiative so their team can have more marketing resources that will grow their mission. After all, assisting local families while trying to market their cause is no easy feat. Through their gift of free promotional products, Kristin will be able to affordably grow their child sponsorship program without taking resources away from their cause.
Striving for Change
Because the poverty level in Arkansas is so high, Kristin volunteered at food pantries for years before she started River Valley Food 4 Kids. In 2014, she noticed while volunteering at her church that there were a lot more children coming in for meals during the summertime and that they’d run out of food quicker. Throughout the year, children can receive assistance through various school programs, however, Kristin was left wondering what happens to those students when class is not in session. She and the local community invited churches and local organizations to talk about the issue, and thus, River Valley Food 4 Kids was born.
“We don’t want anyone to be living on Ramen Noodles or junk for a meal because it’s cheap. We have to make sure that everybody has access to fresh fruits and vegetables.”
-Kristin Foster, Executive Director
The new organization’s first mission was to feed children in the summer by providing weekly food packages. Needless to say, it was a success, as they provided 32,000 meals the very first season. One of Kristin’s favorite experiences over the years was helping a single father of two girls put food on the table for his family. He was able to rely on River Valley Food 4 Kids while he worked hard in securing a second job, which now allows him to provide for his children on his own, without help from the organization. Though it has only been five years since Kristin started the organization, they recently celebrated their greatest milestone: providing 218,000 meals in 2017 alone.
It Takes a Village
If it weren’t for the support of the community, River Valley Food 4 Kids wouldn’t be where they are today. Not only do they receive donations from businesses in the area, but their regular volunteers make it possible to put food on the table for thousands of families in Arkansas. Volunteers help unload, sort, and pack weekly meal packages and assist in handing them out to families on a weekly basis. Whether they are employees of local companies or neighbors who live down the street, the organization relies on the kindness of community members to keep the mission alive.
“I don’t want people to need us. I don’t want kids to need food. We try to help parents give them guidance and encouragement and support them in making better choices, so they can be more self-sufficient and not need us.”
– Kristin Foster
With the amount of work Kristin and the team put into the cause, there aren’t always resources left over to advertise the organization. Though River Valley Food 4 Kids is active on social media and their website, the reality is they are dedicating all their resources to creating positive change in the River Valley area.
Giving away free custom travel mugs throughout the community will put the River Valley Food 4 Kids brand in the hands of those who can help make a difference. Their goal is to familiarize the community with their organization so they can attract more donors to their sponsorship program, which provides meals for children throughout the year. It only costs $100 to feed a child for the entire year, and according to Kristin, promotional products are a great way to get the word out there.
If you would like to sponsor a River Valley child, you can make an online donation here or mail your donation to:
PO Box 1808
Russelville, AR 72811
If marketing is a struggle for your small business or non-profit, don’t forget to apply for Give Your Brand a Hand. Quality Logo Products® is proud to give away $500 worth of promotional products every single month, and your brand could be next!