The Arkansas rice industry donated 134,695 pounds of rice to the Arkansas Food Bank Sept. 13 in honor of National Rice Month.

The donation will provide nearly 1.5 million servings of rice for families, children, and seniors all across the state, according to a news release.

Participating rice mills were Cormier Rice Mill of DeWitt, Windmill Rice Company of Jonesboro, Riceland Foods of Stuttgart, Producers Rice Mill of Stuttgart, Riviana Foods of Carlisle, Golden Ridge of Wynne and Specialty Rice of Brinkley.

“The Arkansas rice industry is committed to being good stewards of our resources and helping to alleviate hunger in our state,” Arkansas Rice Council President Jeff Rutledge said. “We take great pride in our partnership with the Arkansas Foodbank and appreciate their efforts to feed our hungry neighbors.”

“September is also Hunger Action Month. More than 549,000 Arkansans struggle with hunger and may not know where they’ll find their next meal. That number includes one in four children who may not have enough to eat. This rice donation will go in to weekend backpacks for children, food boxes for home-bound seniors and will fill the shelves at food pantries for families in need,” according to the release.

The rice will be distributed across the state to these Feeding America food banks: River Valley Regional Food Bank in Ft. Smith; Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas in Jonesboro; Harvest Regional Food Bank in Texarkana; Arkansas Foodbank in Little Rock; and Northwest Arkansas Food Bank in Springdale.

“For so many Arkansans, rice is an important staple item on their dinner table,” said Rhonda Sanders, Arkansas Foodbank chief executive officer. “With one in six in our state struggling with hunger, today’s generous gift from Arkansas Rice farmers will ensure that our neighbors in need can enjoy many meals to come with their families.”

“The total pounds donated on Rice Day and throughout the year will be divided evenly by the 75 counties within our state and distributed by each county’s Feeding America food bank to fill backpacks for children, food boxes for home bound seniors, and shelves at pantry’s for families in need,” Sanders said.