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A U.S. Department of Agriculture program is helping Harvest Regional Food Bank provide healthy food to senior adults in Southwest Arkansas.

Residents in seven Arkansas counties—Columbia, Howard, Lafayette, Sevier, Hempstead, Little River and Nevada—will be able to participate in the program, said Camille Wrinkle, executive director of Harvest regional Food Bank.

Adults who are 65 or older and meet financial guidelines qualify for the program.

So far, 500 people in these counties are receiving the food boxes once a month and 500 more have applied and are waiting approval, Wrinkle said.

These boxes contain foods that help make sure seniors get the nutrition they need.

Foods include peanut butter, pasta, milk, a block of cheese, instant milk and canned items.

"It's a pretty good mix of things fresh and staples like canned stuff that will last throughout the month," Wrinkle said.

"This program was very much needed, Arkansas is one of the highest ranked states for senior food insecurity. Probably about 20 percent of those we serve are seniors. And this is a nutritional program specific to the dietary needs of older people," Wrinkle said.

Anyone who is interested in the program can apply by contacting Harvest Regional Food Bank at 870-774-1398. The food bank will put people in contact with the senior commodity program in their area.

Harvest Regional Food Bank partners with about 75 pantries, shelters, soup kitchens and mobile pantry sites to provide food for hungry residents.

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