What is in this article?:
- Acres of Help â€“ ageless acts of kindness in modern world
- Biblical concept of gleaning
- Christmas gifts for children
Arkansas farmers and agribusinesses join forces to be sure their hungry, needy neighbors through Acres of Help charity, built on the biblical concept of gleaning.
MEMBERS OF the Acres of Help charity are, from left, Brad Chambless, Farmers & Merchants Bank; Barry Wilson, owner, Wil-Co Flying Service; farmer Drew Whiting; farmer Keith Patterson; Pastor Chad Philipp; and Kirk Vansandt, Farmers & Merchants Bank.
Christmas gifts for children
Last Christmas, Acres of Help once again helped The CALL by donating some year-end reserve funds to help foster families buy Christmas gifts for their children. “They helped us provide a little better Christmas for 29 foster children living with these 11 foster families. I’ve been overwhelmed by their generosity, as well as our churches.
“If you could see Acres of Help in every county in the Mid-South, you’d see a great deal of improvement in the quality of life. I couldn’t be more proud of these guys. I know them all well. They all have big hearts and are doing great work here.”
The men who organize and administer the charity are Thayn Morton, president, Brad Chambless, vice president, Kirk Vansandt, treasurer, Barry Wilson, secretary, Arkansas Country farmers Drew Whiting, Keith Patterson, Mike Dodson, Drew Counce and Jason Berry, Pastor Chad Philipp, who provides additional inroads into charities and people in need and auctioneer Doug Stovesand, who donates his time to the fundraiser.
When members of Acres of Help got together back in 2012 to discuss the budding charity, each of them knew there were needs not being met in the county. It wasn’t until they started sharing their knowledge that they began to fully understand the depth of the problem.
“We realized there were many more needs than we thought,” said Whiting. “I had no idea how many kids around here needed shoes at school. I had no idea that our county had as many needy people as it did.”
“We hear a lot of heartwarming and heart wrenching stories,” said Wilson, who operates a local flying service. “As farmers, we’ve all been blessed, and it’s an honor to be able to give back. We can give all we take in right here locally, because the need is here.”
Vansandt echoed the thoughts of the farmers. “We wanted something that would directly help the people here. We wanted to see the results locally.”
Patterson believes Acres of Help can serve as a blueprint for other Delta counties, many of which have struggled with poverty for decades. “We would like to see this get off the ground in other communities.”
“Other communities can do the same thing if they put their minds to it and get together with their farmers,” Chambless added.
“You hear about world hunger and children starving,” Morton said. “But we have it right here in our town. If everyone would do something, even if it’s on a small scale, to help their community, we can help a lot of people. Farmers are so blessed with what we have. As much acreage as we farm, just one acre can help so much.”