Help stop the Fort Smith nonprofit from losing its building
Without community support, a local nonprofit may be homeless by July 1.
Fort Smith resident Darla Lackey founded Pay It Forward Fort Smith Food Pantry in 2019 to meet the basic needs of individuals and families in Western Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma. In addition to distributing food and clothing, the organization runs classes on life skills, English, Spanish, sign language and pet therapy.
“It depends on what is going on in their life that people need us. But people also don’t understand that we help every two weeks, not once a month like the others … We help you daily . You come here and get what you need, ”Lackey said.
The organization’s funds come from donations and from the pockets of the volunteers themselves. As the coronavirus pandemic increased financial hardship, Pay It Forward struggled to pay its $ 1,000 monthly expenses.
If they can’t make their next rent payment, plus late fees, by July 1, the landlord has told them to leave, Lackey said.
“We have a hard time paying the rent every month and all utilities because we can’t raise the full $ 1,000. With the arrival of the coronavirus and all the PPE loans…, the board of directors and the volunteers, “Lackey said.” To receive this you have to get paid, so the bigger nonprofits got this… but the small ones not. ”
The 900 square foot building at 616 N. 10th St. serves as the office of the nonprofit organization while also housing storage space for non-perishable foods, multiple freezers, and clothing donation displays.
The loss of the Pay It Forward building would impact its customers and the surrounding rural pantries that depend on the organization.
“We have church pantries calling us… because they couldn’t find food anywhere else,” said Tammy Benton, a volunteer.
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For those interested in contributing to Pay It Forward, the association accepts donations via PayPal at [email protected] or Cash App at $ payitforwardfs. For cash, checks or credit cards, Lackey asks the donor to call (479) 312-0962.
“We don’t want to lose our building… we want to continue our mission,” Lackey said.