BY MELANIE BUCK
Pulse Multi-Media General Manager LeAnn Dilbeck is proud to announce that they will once again be hosting the Harvest of Hope Radiothon to help alleviate hunger for the county’s children through the Backpack Program. “We will be partnering with the Mena Lioness Club again this year and are so grateful for their assistance and all that they’ve done with the Backpack Program,” said Dilbeck. “We also appreciate our other community partners like James Super Save Foods and Walmart who allow us to broadcast from their locations and accept donations.”
The event will be held Wednesday, November 16 and will be simulcast on KENA 104.1FM and KQOR 105.3FM. Last year, the event garnered almost $28,000 from generous donations from local businesses and individuals throughout the community who stepped up to support such a great need in our community. “We forget what a privilege it is to have funds to go to the grocery store and buy food. And especially, this time of year, we are making trips loading up our carts for huge Thanksgiving Dinners, and that is not the case for so many of our children in this county,” said Lioness Patty Young. “We are hopeful that as the community is doing their grocery shopping for Thanksgiving, they’ll remember these kids and purchase the recommended ‘kid-friendly, ready-to-eat’ items or be willing to make cash donations through the radiothon,” added Dilbeck.
Through the Backpack Program, children are able to take a backpack of ‘kid-friendly, ready-to-eat or simple-to-prepare’ food home with them from school each week to give them something to eat on the weekends while away from school. Not only does it give the student food to eat, they also have food for younger siblings that have not reached school age. Most of the kids they serve get free or reduced lunches at school, but the struggle comes on the weekends, and over holiday breaks. “Most kids get really excited about breaks from school but for the kids on our program, that’s a very troubling thought, that they’re not going to get regular food. The backpacks and meal kits fill that need,” Young explained.
Dilbeck is confident in the local community once they are more aware of the difference they can make in these students’ lives. “When you hear the stories from the counselors, it will break your heart. Regardless of what their home situation is, it is simply unacceptable to me to have students hungry and worrying about eating when they are not in school. I’ve watched this community step-up time and again my entire life and take care of our own. This is one of those times. I commend Patty Young and the Mena Lioness for stepping up and tackling this issue head on 4 years ago. Our team feels passionate about doing all we can with our platforms to tackle this issue in our community,” Dilbeck added.
The radiothon will begin at 7 a.m. and run until noon. “We’ve asked Sue Cavner to join us who has 20-plus years of experience with telethons on KENA. We encourage businesses and individuals to call in their pledges or bring in their donations. Any amount is appreciated,” Dilbeck said.
Young explained that the Mena Lioness will partner with the Arkansas Food Bank, who by buying in bulk, is able to maximize the amount of food purchased beyond what we as individual shoppers can do. However, for those who want to purchase food, Dilbeck explained they have partnered with James Super Save Foods and Walmart who will have displays of the suggested food items to include in these backpacks. “This is a “team” radiothon and we will not only be broadcasting from the Pulse Multi-Media studios but also from these two locations,” added Dilbeck. Washburn’s Home Furnishings will be providing trucks to place the food donations received to take to their distribution point.