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Episode 268: St. James Food Pantry Director Discusses Serving the Community in Northwest Arkansas

About the Show:

“Allowing people to work within their strength strengthens our whole operations of the food pantry.”

  • Monique Jones

About the Guest:

Monique Jones is a pastor and the Director of Outreach and Community Engagement at the St. James Food Pantry, part of the Squire Jahagan Outreach Center, a non-profit arm of St. James, the oldest African American church in Northwest Arkansas. With a poignant history in Human Resources, including a 25-year stint of notable work that led her to Northwest Arkansas on a relocation project, Monique transitioned to full-time service, deeply embedding herself within the community. Her dedication to nurturing neighbors and serving the food insecure through innovative means has defined her position as a central figure in local outreach and ministry beyond the church’s walls.

Episode Summary:

In this episode of I am Northwest Arkansas, host Randy Wilburn delves into an intimate conversation with Monique Jones. The dialogue not only celebrates her contributions to the community but also spotlights the intersection of business, culture, and life as shaped by individuals like Monique in the Ozarks.

Randy and Monique discuss the inherent challenges and triumphs in addressing food insecurity in the region, particularly during the pandemic. Monique shares her unique journey from an HR executive to a devoted servant leader, applying Kaizen methodology to streamline operations at the food pantry. Their conversation unravels the fabric of community resilience and engagement, revealing how the power of collaboration across various entities, including public service officers, can meet extensive needs in creative ways.

Key Takeaways:

  • Monique Jones’ journey from a corporate executive to leading a food pantry redefines community service, showcasing a seamless transition from business acumen to humanitarian efforts.
  • The St. James Food Pantry mobilized an inclusive and extensive response to food insecurity, especially during the pandemic, serving as a beacon of hope across Northwest Arkansas.
  • Introducing the first food locker in Arkansas, Monique illustrates innovation in addressing food accessibility, indicating plans for expansion to support rural areas.
  • The episode underscores the importance of human connection, collaboration, and cultural sensitivity in addressing community needs, transcending beyond racial and socio-economic lines.
  • Leveraging partnerships with local law enforcement and organizations has helped redefine community policing and support for vulnerable populations.

All this and more on this episode of the I Am Northwest Arkansas podcast.

Important Links and Mentions on the Show:

Email Monique Jones

Website Squire Jehegan Outreach Center

Squire Jehegan Outreach Center on Facebook

Tune in to KUAF 91.3 FM to listen to the I Am Northwest Arkansas podcast on Ozarks at Large every Tuesday at 12 Noon and 7 PM CST. And, check us out on their podcast as well. 

This episode is sponsored by:

Signature Bank of Arkansas “Community Banking at its Best!”

Northwest Arkansas Council – “Life Works Here!” HyperLocal Jobs in NWA

Note: some of the resources mentioned may be affiliate links. This means we get paid a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you use that link to make a purchase.

Connect more with I am Northwest Arkansas:

Thank you for listening to this episode of the I am Northwest Arkansas podcast. We showcase businesses, culture, entrepreneurship, and everyday people’s lives, making Northwest Arkansas what it is today.

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