Arvest Bank’s 1 Million Meals initiative challenges bank associates, customers and community members to participate in fundraising efforts and nonperishable food drives to fight hunger in the more than 120 communities the bank serves. The initiative is needed, as the United States Department of Agriculture reports more than 12 percent of American households surveyed in 2015 were food insecure, meaning they lacked access to enough food for an active, healthy lifestyle for all household members.

Arvest is conducting its annual initiative in the spring for the second consecutive year due to the fact food banks report an increased need for food items in the summer, when many children do not have the benefit of eating meals at the schools they attend. In July 2015, for example, less than 9,000 students in Missouri who participated in the National School Lunch Program participated in the summer program. According to the Food Research and Action Center, that’s compared to the more than 386,000 students who received a free or reduced-price lunch – on average – during the 2014-2015 school year. Donations to food banks also tend to be lower in the spring and summer than at other times of the year.

Arvest Bank kicked off the two-month, bank-wide effort this week to provide at least one million meals to local, hungry families, and it will continue through June 3. The initiative will conclude later that month, when donations are presented to 72 local organizations that feed the hungry in their communities.

Arvest Bank in Aurora has partnered with Harvest Church for the duration of the initiative. All donations received will go to Harvest Church to provide meals to local, hungry families. Aurora residents can participate in 1 Million Meals by dropping off nonperishable food items or making monetary donations at the Arvest branch in Aurora or calling (866) 952-9523. Arvest credit card customers also can donate Arvest Flex Rewards™ points by visiting arvestflexrewards.com and clicking on the 1 Million Meals banner. Every dollar raised through 1 Million Meals provides the equivalent of five meals for those in need.

“We always look forward to kicking off our 1 Million Meals campaign,” Jordan Cornman, personal banker at Arvest in Aurora, said. “Our associates are excited to join Harvest Church, our customers and the community to provide meals to local families in need.”

“The donations we raise here in Aurora stay local and benefit Harvest Church in the summer, a time when many children go without meals they typically receive at school,” Cornman added.

Each of Arvest Bank’s 72 recipient organizations was selected on a local basis. For more information about 1 Million Meals, visit arvest.com/millionmeals.

Arvest Bank operates more than 260 bank branches in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas through a group of 16 locally managed banks, each with its own board and management team. These banks serve customers in more than 120 communities, with extended weekday banking hours at many locations. Arvest also provides a wide range of banking services including loans, deposits, treasury management, credit cards, mortgage loans and mortgage servicing. Arvest is an Equal Housing Lender and Member FDIC.