As we continue to look at ways Love Does The Unexpected, I felt called to bring attention to the hunger crisis in our area and ways we can fight hunger with a special organization in North Texas.
Recently, I volunteered at the North Texas Food Bank in Plano, TX, a local nonprofit organization founded in 1982. This was a volunteer event held through the organization for which I work. Since we live in an affluent area, I was shocked to learn how much of a need there is in our community.
Hunger in Our Community
Do you sit down every day to a healthy meal? If not, then you are one of the more than 800,000 people across the North Texas Food Bank’s 13-county service area that is food insecure. That is one in six people. This equates to two-thirds of the households that the North Texas Food Bank serves report having to choose between paying for food and for medical care. One in every four children in North Texas is food insecure. That’s 300,000 children. Being food insecure has a negative impact on families and individuals.
How We Can Fight Hunger in Our Community
Last year, the North Texas Food Bank provided almost 72 million meals to those in need in their 13-county service area through a variety of dedicated programs. Each program presents a unique solution to the ongoing pursuit of closing the gap on hunger in North Texas. Their programs include children and senior programs, disaster relief programs, and nutrition education programs.
Aside from supporting their programs, the North Texas Bank has a variety of service opportunities. While serving at the North Texas Food Bank, my team and I assembled boxes, separated food items, and packed boxes with food items.
Here are some ways we can fight hunger in our community and serve the North Texas Food Bank.
One way you can serve is to sort and pack food at their distribution center in Plano, TX. This helps the food bank distribute millions of meals through their partner agencies and their programs. You can serve as individuals or in groups on Tuesday-Saturday, from 9:00-11:30 a.m. or from 1:00-3:30 p.m.
The North Texas Food Bank also has a community pantry (Our Community Pantry located near Fair Park), a mobile pantry, and a school pantry. Each pantry helps provide for struggling families and individuals in unique ways.
At their community pantry, the North Texas Food Bank is looking for volunteers to interact with and assist clients and to stock its shelves. The mobile pantry is an outdoor pantry that feeds families in various locations throughout North Texas. Volunteers are needed to greet clients, bag food, and clean up.
Throughout the school year, the North Texas Food Bank delivers food to partner elementary schools on a monthly basis. The organization needs volunteers to carry 30-60 pounds of food to the cars of hungry families. To serve at the school pantry, volunteers must pass a background check.
Special Programs and Services
The North Texas Food Bank’s special programs and services are great opportunities for LifeGroups to serve together on a regular basis.
Nourishing Neighbors is a special program that brings food to the homes of homebound seniors and clients with disabilities. Drivers are needed to deliver the food to their clients’ homes once every two weeks for at least six months. Each driver must pass a background check, have reliable transportation, and attend an orientation.
There are also opportunities to help with the food bank’s nutrition services. You can teach a class, distribute food assistance materials, translate nutrition workshops, or help with a local garden.
The food bank hosts community events every year to help provide for their needs. You and your group can sign up to be a part of the festivities! There are opportunities to help with set-up, registration, crowd control, merchandise sales, manning a booth, refreshments, greeting guests, and tear-down.
To help alleviate hunger in our community, you can volunteer your time, donate money, host a canned food drive, and participate in events that benefit the North Texas Food Bank. Together, we can fight hunger, so become a hunger advocate today!
For more opportunities to serve this season, check out Love Does The Unexpected. Together, we can spread love and transform our community!