UACES Facebook Arkansas 4-H Center turns surplus into meals for the homeless
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March 27, 2020

Arkansas 4-H Center turns surplus into meals for the homeless

By Tracy Courage
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Fast facts

  • Arkansas 4-H Center donates more than 75 pounds of food to Little Rock homeless shelter
  • Our House serves three meals daily; fresh produce can be hard to come by

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LITTLE ROCK — Spring has typically been one of the busiest times of the year for the C.A. Vines Arkansas 4-H Center — until this year. Amid growing concern about the COVID-19 pandemic, groups quickly cancelled conferences, retreats and meetings, leaving the center with an abundance of food ordered to feed guests who never came.

DONATED — Our House resident Gaylone Hale (left) logs a food donation from C.A. Vines Arkansas 4-H Center director JJ. Pitman. The center recently donated more than 75 lbs. of food to Our House, after multiple retreats and meetings at the center were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Division of Agriculture photo.)

Rather than letting the food spoil, the center donated the surplus to Our House, a Little Rock nonprofit that serves homeless people.

“We didn’t want the food to go to waste,” 4-H Center Director J.J. Pitman said. “We wanted someone to get some good out of it. Our House is one of our clients, and we knew they could use extra food. It was a way for us to give back.”

The surplus included 22 heads of Romaine and iceberg lettuce, seven pounds of spinach and heritage blend greens, six pounds of radishes, five pounds of cherry tomatoes, 17 tomatoes, 24 bell peppers, cucumbers and carrots, nine pounds of cottage cheese, 69 individual yogurts, a case of crackers and rolls.

Our House, which currently shelters more than 100 people, provides residents with three meals a day, every day of the year. Food donations — especially fresh produce — are always welcome, said Beau Cooper, Our House’s executive assistant.

“We try to have a salad or fresh food at every meal, but produce is expensive,” Cooper said. “As a nonprofit, we watch every penny and rely on donations like this one from the 4-H Center to keep our kitchen stocked. Anytime someone donates salad or fresh produce, it gets eaten.”

For more information about Our House, visit

To learn more about the C.A. Cines Arkansas 4-H Center, visit

To learn about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit Follow us on Twitter at @UAEX_edu.


About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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Media contact:
Tracy Courage
Director, Communications Services
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2126