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story.lead_photo.caption Murphy USA employees fill boxes with dry goods for the Salvation Army Nov. 7, 2019. The company donated about $5,000 to the Arkansas Food Bank. - Photo by Siandhara Bonnet

Murphy USA employees jumped out of the lunch line to pack and build 200 Thanksgiving dinner boxes at their office Thursday.

The boxes, which are priced at about $25 each, will be given to the Salvation Army in Union County to distribute to families in need.

Sarah Riffle, chief development officer at the Foodbank, said there are about 8,000 people considered food insecure in Union County.

“This is a target area for the Arkansas Foodbank to focus our food and resources,” Riffle said. “This is our most critical time of need for the year. You have kids that are out of school for two weeks for holiday break that lose access to their meals…you have families that are having to pay for rising heat bills and utilities, families that are trying to provide a Christmas for their kids.”

Riffle said partnerships with organizations, like Salvation Army, helps families worry about one less thing.

The boxes are filled with applesauce, crushed pineapple, green beans, corn, cornbread or muffin mix, cranberry sauce, instant potatoes and boxes of mac and cheese. Each family will also receive a frozen turkey.

Kelly Caldwell — manager of events, philanthropy and community relations — said Murphy USA donated about $5,000 to the Foodbank, which is its first donation and packing event.

“We’re always looking for opportunities where we can give back to the community and especially when we can involve our employees,” Caldwell said.

John Moore, senior vice president and general counsel for Murphy USA, said having the packing event near the lunch line is a great opportunity for their employees.

“It brings awareness of our employee base to a great organization and the fact that there is a hunger issue here in south Arkansas,” Moore said.

Riffle said November and December are the Foodbank’s busiest distribution months. She said the organization is working diligently to make sure all their food pantries are stocked.

She said $1 donated to the Foodbank provides five meals. Riffle said people can help by donating money online at arkansasfoodbank.org, by donating food to pantries or by volunteering.

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