Henson Benson Foundation donating $2,500 to Harvest of Hope

Pictured left to right are Marion Gibson, Cecilia Ashcraft, Penny Gassman, Bernice Wilson, Bonnie Adams and Alan McClain. Gassman, organizer with the Harvest of Hope community organization, was there to accept a check from Henson Benson Foundation Board members to benefit the Food for Kids Backpack Program. Wilson was there to accept a similar donation to go towards maintaining the Perla Cemetery.

The Henson Benson Foundation, a local non-profit organization dedicated to improving lives in Malvern, Perla and surrounding areas, presented a $2,500 check on Thursday afternoon to Penny Gassman with Harvest of Hope, a community group that’s been collecting donations to feed hungry kids in the area for well over a decade.

“The Henson Benson Foundation was established in 2010 by Samuel G. Benson, MD, Ph.D, a visionary physician-scientist and humanitarian whose heritage is a remarkable family from the Hot Spring County region of Arkansas,” according to a statement from the organization.  

Dr. Benson descended from a highly esteemed African American family in the local area and became a renowned entrepreneur, forensic psychiatrist, and philanthropist in California. He later returned to Malvern and established the Foundation to give back to his hometown community and help other outstanding HSC youth achieve their dreams.

“The Foundation promotes and funds activities that unify the community and inspire the concept of giving back to society,” noted HB Foundation Board member, Marion Gibson. To that end, the  Foundation provides scholarships, public presentations, community grants and other outreach activities that have made a positive impact in the lives of countless HSC residents.

Harvest of Hope in Malvern was established in 2010 by caring volunteers who wanted to help feed hungry children in Hot Spring County. Since their inception, they’ve raised over $194,000, which Gassman said could never have been possible without continual assistance from other caring individuals and organizations like the Foundation, who have shown vital support over the years for the local group’s effort.

Most civic organizations report that donations are down since COVID came along, so the hefty check presented to Harvest of Hope Thursday afternoon is a Godsend that Gassman and the others involved couldn’t be happier about.

Read the full story in Saturday's Jan. 21 newspaper edition.

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