LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Feb. 23, 2012) — First Security Bancorp Chairman/CEO Reynie Rutledge presented Arkansas Foodbank with a $25,000 check Thursday — the proceeds from more than 5,000 cookbooks sold during the holidays.
The “What’s Cookin’ at First Security” cookbook featured more than 1,900 recipes contributed by employees and customers. The idea originated with employees as an opportunity to give to Arkansas Foodbank. First Security has previously participated in Golf for Food and Empty Bowls — the Foodbank’s largest fundraisers — but this is the first time the organization has held a fundraiser of its own. The money will be distributed among the Foodbank’s member agencies and through the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, which includes Arkansas Foodbank, Food Bank of North Central Arkansas, Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas, and Northwest Arkansas Foodbank.
The $25,000 check will provide 75,000 meals for hungry Arkansans.
“Investing in Arkansas is First Security’s mission,” explains Rutledge. “But it’s not just something we say. We believe in what the Arkansas Foodbank does, and we wanted to do our part to help their mission. We knew our customers would also be glad for the opportunity to support the Foodbank’s important work.”
The cookbook fund-raiser was entirely employee-driven, from the original idea to gathering recipes and creating promotional pieces, to producing the cookbook itself and encouraging sales.
The project allowed the whole spectrum of the First Security family to participate — employees and customers from banking centers across Arkansas. Gold Club members submitted family recipes passed down from generation to generation, while Kids Club members submitted recipes in simple terms other kids can follow. Employees wanted to pack as many recipes into the cookbook as they could — more than 1,900 — while keeping it affordable for anyone to purchase.
Of course, the ultimate goal was to contribute as much as possible to the Arkansas Foodbank and its member agencies.
More than half a million Arkansans live in poverty and experience hunger, according to the Arkansas Foodbank. In the Foodbank’s 33-county service area, 245,000 people are considered “food insecure,” which means they struggle to put food on the table. Arkansas has the nation’s highest rate of hunger (17.7 percent) and the highest rate of childhood hunger (24.4 percent). The Foodbank serves 23,000 people a week through approximately 300 agencies throughout the Foodbank’s 33-county service area.
Says Arkansas Foodbank Strategic Relationship Director Shelly Lane, “We can’t thank First Security enough for their generosity — and their creativity! The cookbook is amazing! This donation will go a long way toward providing nutritious, quality food for hungry people all over Arkansas. We especially want to thank the employees of First Security who put in the time and effort to create the cookbook, assembling over 1,900 recipes! We appreciate their dedication and attitude of service. It has been a pleasure to work with them.”