While the problem of hunger may be getting bigger, the solutions are getting better, thanks to the North Texas Food Bank (NTFB) and its major new initiatives launching today at the grand opening of its Dan Morton campus and new cold storage distribution center.
Preparing for another tough holiday season as the lingering bad economy brings new faces to its doors, NTFB is announcing initiatives to “ReThink Hunger,” focused on providing healthier food, developing innovative new ways to extend reach and operations, and improving lives of the people it serves. The organization’s $7 million holiday fundraising goal backs the new efforts and will help meet the increasing demand – enabling needed distribution of 26 percent more in nutritious food compared to last year.
Specifically, NTFB’s multi-year ReThink Hunger initiative brings new solutions to the table to address the growing need now and into the future, based on three platforms:
- Healthier - Providing more nutritious food, such as significant increases in fresh produce
- Smarter - Focusing on efficient programs/operations, and new research to better understand hunger
- Stronger - Building capacity and effective community collaboration
The opening of this new warehouse distribution center on Dan Morton Dr. represents one of the first steps in NTFB’s ReThink Hunger initiatives. The additional facility, which doubles the Food Bank’s warehouse capacity, not only streamlines operations to its Member Agencies and programs in the 13 counties it serves, but also focuses on providing more nutritious foods with its additional 25,000 square feet of cold storage space. NTFB now distributes more fresh produce than any other food category.
“With long-term unemployment, poverty, hunger, and food insecurity rates at or near all-time highs, it was clear that we needed to do more than simply move more food out the door in order to make a significant impact in this environment,” says Jan Pruitt, NTFB president and CEO. “In ReThinking Hunger we are bringing better, healthier solutions to the table for the growing number of people we serve.”
NTFB’s “Hungry Today” holiday campaign illustrates the new faces of hunger across North Texas, and calls for help in raising the $7 million in funding needed to distribute 35 million pounds of nutritious food. This figure includes 12 million pounds of fresh produce – enough food to fill NTFB’s two main warehouses 12 times during the holidays and throughout the New Year.
Nearly one in six people in the NTFB service area is living in hunger–about 17 percent of the population, and higher than the national average of about 16 percent. Poverty is also increasing: nearly one in five people in Dallas County live in poverty, according to government statistics.
“The North Texas Food Bank works to help create a healthier, smarter, and stronger community, and I commend them for that,” says Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. “They provide tens of millions of nutritious meals each year throughout our city and across the region. We are proclaiming November as ‘ReThink Hunger Month’ in Dallas, and I encourage everyone to consider how they can get involved and help NTFB help neighbors in need this holiday season.”
“Any amount helps feed hungry North Texans as just $1 provides three meals, and 94 cents of every dollar goes directly to our mission,” Pruitt says. “Funds are needed now more than ever to help fill our warehouses–and tables–as we not only face increased demand during the holidays, but to also purchase fresh produce and meats that are not readily donated.”
Supporters are encouraged to give a dollar, a can of healthy food, or their time this holiday season. It is simple to make a donation online or start a virtual food drive with friends and family. This year supporters can also text-to-give by simply texting “NTFB” to 80888 to make a quick and easy $10 donation. Details on NTFB’s ReThink Hunger efforts and Hungry Today holiday campaign can be found online at www.ntfb.org.