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A non-profit food truck on a mission! 100% of the donations from For The Love goes directly to feeding the vulnerable in Northwest Arkansas. They show up. They serve meals. They have conversations. They listen. They care. To dive deeper into the mission and impact of For The Love, we asked a few questions about their journey.

Can you give us a brief origin story for For the Love? How did you land on the name? When did you officially launch?

For The Love was born during a conversation on a run around downtown Bentonville. It was 2020, and we were discussing the needs we saw in our community and asking how we could love our neighbors well in that lockdown moment. Food insecurity was rising, and so many people needed community. People need others to feel seen and loved. Everyone needs to eat, so we decided to simply feed some people, to sit and engage in life-giving conversation. We officially launched at the end of 2020. We served our food truck’s first community meal in October 2020.

We don’t have a magical story about how we came up with the name ‘For The Love.’ The name stems from our mission to feed the hungry, cultivate community, and fight poverty. It is the answer to why we feed the hungry, cultivate community, and fight poverty. For the love of our neighbor, for the love of our community, for the love that has been shared with us, for the love of the lonely, for the love of the hungry, for the love of the hard-pressed and worn down. It’s all For The Love.

Tell us something about For the Love you can’t find on the website or social.

I hope you see all the signs on the website, but we don’t directly write about dignity. Individual dignity is at the core of For the Love. That’s why everyone is our neighbor, everyone is addressed by their name because everyone wears name tags, there are no qualifications for food, and no one pays. At every Neighbor Night, we huddle up with the volunteers before we start and talk about how and why Neighbor Night will run the way it does, and it’s all so we can bring dignity to every person who comes. It is important to us that the neighbors who serve are seen as equal to those who come and have not eaten all day. The truth is that wealth and poverty, friendship and connection are all complex. Our goal is to create an environment that jumpstarts relationships. To develop a relationship that will lead to upward mobility, we must enter that relationship equally.

How have you measured impact? Any statistics you can share with us?

We do track how many meals we have served. To date, we are at 72,363. We operate in three cities: Bentonville, Rogers, and Springdale. We have had over 3,000 volunteers come and serve with us. We are also in the process of surveying how our neighbors build community. We think this is the magic of Neighbor Nights; when you share a table with neighbors that you would never rub shoulders with otherwise, social capital is gained. We truly believe that when neighbors get to know neighbors, they begin to care for each other. At the end of the day, it isn’t about the number of meals served, but about the stories of lives changed.

Finally, can you share one of your favorite stories related to this work?

I can tell stories all day about neighbors whose lives we have seen change. We have walked with so many neighbors through getting employment, securing housing, being reunited with their kids, and reaching sobriety milestones. Neighbors have walked to us because someone gave them the address when they had only had a loaf of bread all week because they simply didn’t know where to go. Our neighbors are putting in beautiful, hard work, and we are honored to walk alongside them.

I have a lot of favorite stories, but one of them is Joey and Samantha (names changed). One Tuesday, the team leader, Corey, who greeted them, asked how their day was, and they shared that they had gotten married at the courthouse just two hours ago. They were beaming. They could not afford to take off work on a weekend, rent a space, or pay for food for people. Corey asked if we could celebrate them, and they said they would love that. They picked Bruno Mars’ “Marry Me” to play over our speaker. We announced them and kicked off our neighbor night with them sharing their first bite of wedding cake (tiramisu that we had for dessert on the menu that night). They smeared it on each other’s faces and kissed, and 200 neighbors cheered and celebrated them. They are real friends who are worth celebrating. Their neighbors only had the opportunity to celebrate because neighbors have come together to make Neighbor Nights possible. They are seen and loved well.

How to get involved?

Neighbor Nights take place every Thursday in Bentonville, every Tuesday in Rogers, and every Monday in Springdale! Neighbor Nights are 100% volunteer-run, so they need friends, family, businesses, and community groups to sign up to serve!

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