PA Students Give More Than $12,000 to Arkansas Foodbank

By Yavonda Chase

That’s how many meals for children the Physician Assistant Studies (PA) program in the College of Health Professions (CHP) bought for the Arkansas Foodbank with the money they raised from their fifth annual Heroes Against Hunger 5K.

Emily McKinney, president for the PA Class of 2019, presented a check for $12,167.96 to Nick Bradford from the Arkansas Food Bank during a Jan. 31 ceremony. It was the PA program’s largest donation to the food bank’s Food For Kids program. In five years, the PA students have raised nearly $32,000.

“I am so proud of the hard work our PA students put into fundraising and the race,” said Heather Trudeau, M.P.A.S., assistant professor. “These funds will make a tremendous impact for many Arkansans living with food insecurity.”

The Kelly-Rahn-Turnage (KRT) Fellowship of Physician Assistant Students, which was founded by the inaugural class of PA students in 2013, is responsible for putting on the race, held Oct. 6, 2018, in Murray Park.

Approximately 90 people volunteered their time to make the event happen. The PA students were assisted by CHP faculty and volunteers from the College of Nursing and the Arkansas Foodbank. For the second year, the Arkansas Medical Pharmaceutical and Dental Association allowed the KRT Fellowship to fundraise through their organization, which meant donations were tax deductible, something that has helped fundraising immensely, McKinney said.

“As future health care providers, the PA students chose a 5K specifically because it highlights the importance of physical activity as a part of preventive health care and community health. It’s an activity that benefits one’s personal health, but also encourages people to do something together,” said McKinney. “I can’t tell you how many families we saw at this year’s race — lots of moms and dads running with their school-age or teenage kiddos.”

With 244 runners and walkers, the 2018 race had more participants than ever before.

McKinney said that organizing and fundraising for the event was a great bonding experience for the students. The students have scheduled the 2019 race for Oct. 5.

“I’m so proud that we had the opportunity to do something to address food disparity in Arkansas,” she said.