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NWA couple use Halloween display to fight food insecurities

A Bentonville couple is using their large Halloween display to encourage people to donate to fight food insecurity in our area.

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Bentonville couple Jeff and Denise Ratcliff began their Halloween display five years ago and it has grown tremendously ever since. This year they are using the display to draw people in and donate canned items to the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank.

“We wanted to do something fun and unique for the community,” Jeff said. 

He and his wife Denise are hosting a canned food drive called "Haunting for Hunger."

Driving along 2nd St. in Bentonville, it’ll be hard to miss the display which features three 12-foot skeletons, two witches, and large pumpkins. The display at 607 NE 2nd Street is sure to make people stop and stare, but they’re hoping people will also do a little more than that.

“People can drop off non-perishable to help support the NW Arkansas Food Bank as well,” Jeff said.

The NWA Food Bank serves Benton, Madison, Washington and Carrol counties.

Director of Marketing & Communications with the NWA Food Bank, Julie Damer, says food insecurity in Northwest Arkansas isn’t as uncommon as some may think. 

“A lot of people are living paycheck to paycheck and unfortunately a lot of people are one paycheck away from being food insecure," Damer said. 

In a typical year, she says there are around 67,000 food insecure people in Northwest Arkansas. However, during the pandemic, that number jumped to 82,000. 

“So, you kind of put that into perspective. That’s almost the population of Fayetteville, Arkansas,” Damer said.

The Ratcliff’s are doing what they can to help, starting with an idea turned into reality, meant to help fight hunger.

“People that are thinking outside of the box and doing things, such as this generous family will really help out people in Northwest Arkansas with food this year,” Damer said.

"Haunting for Hunger" is about paying it forward, but it’s also about enjoying the holiday.

“We’re having fun with it,” Denise said. “I think it’s really been the appreciation from the community that has kept us wanting to add more.”

The Ratcliff’s will be taking drop-off donations at 607 NE 2nd Street through Nov. 1.

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