FORT SMITH (KFSM)- The biggest contributor to helping fight food insecurity in our area is now getting a gift of its own; a new food pantry.
"It's something Fort Smith has always needed and never had," Ken Kupchick, consultant for Antioch for Youth and Family said.
18,000 people in our area are in need of food and the Antioch has been helping combat that for many years now.
A new pantry is in the works to continue the fight and it will serve thousands of people every month.
"It's the old food bank building, but we're converting it into a food pantry," Kupchick said. "The difference is a food bank stores food and a food pantry helps people."
Some of the plans include areas to receive and store food, but the biggest thing is a grocery store-like area for people to pick out their own food.
"We'll have food coaches in the area," Charolette Tidwell, executive director said. "It'll look a lot like a grocery store. We'll have food coaches there, the food, the fruits and vegetables and all of that. With the food coaches, we'll be teaching them good nutrition."
The new food pantry will of course be offering food, but it will also be providing other services for those in need.
"It'll be a good way of allowing people to get food, be triaged medically, being trained in other areas like housing that we get a lot of calls for and placing furniture when the homeless are coming off the street with families," Tidwell said.
With bigger and better things to come, those with the Antioch said the future looks bright and the new development will help them accomplish much more than ever before.
"The reason for the move [is] we are tight and filled," Kupchick said. "We cannot provide more help than we are giving right now and there's more help needed out there."
Kupchick said the community has played a large role in the planning for this development, offering window and glass, architecture, paint, engineering and many other services.
The Antioch Community Pantry will be located at 1420 N. 32 Street, just north of Grand Avenue.
The grand opening of the food pantry is set for February 14, 2018.
For more information about Antioch or how you can help, click here or call 479-459-0669.