The volunteer nonprofit organization Antioch For Youth And Family provides food assistance and youth development services for residents of all ages in the Fort Smith area. The volunteer nonprofit organization Antioch For Youth And Family provides food assistance and youth development services for residents of all ages in the Fort Smith area.
Antioch was created in 2000 to address a variety of needs in the Fort Smith area. According to Antioch Director Charolette Tidwell, the biggest of these is the need to provide nutritious meals for households that are unable to attain them. According to Tidwell, Antioch’s primary function is that of a food pantry, providing food assistance to slightly more than 7,000 people on a monthly basis. The amount of food each household receives varies depending on the number of people living there, but the amount starts at 30-40 pounds and goes up from there. The pantry is open five to six days a week.
Tidwell said Antioch also hosts a number of events throughout the year in which food is given away to those who need it. These include Antioch in the Park events, during which the organization imparts about 60,000 pounds of food at each event. The events are held at Martin Luther King Park in Fort Smith. In addition to the regular food pantry services it provides at its office and during events, Antioch also maintains a senior mobile pantry that delivers a variety of nutritious foods to Fort Smith’s senior citizens at nine facilities in the area. The deliveries consist of 40 to 50 pounds of food, including fruits, vegetables and healthy sources of protein. A minimum of 150 people are served at each complex, according to Tidwell.
Antioch also has a youth development services program, collaborating with other organizations to provide youth and children with the means to become more active in their community and express themselves more freely than they would be able to otherwise. One of these organizations is the Young Actor’s Guild, with whom Antioch holds free acting workshops for students.