Partner Agency FAQs

Accounting

If I cannot locate my copy of an invoice, who do I contact for a reprint?
Please be careful to file your invoices so that this is not a recurring event. If you do happen to misplace an invoice, you can e-mail your request to the NTFB Accounting Department at acctrec@ntfb.org.  Please include your Agency name, phone number, and the invoice number. 

When I make a payment, how do I know that it has been received?
Currently, we do not have a feature that will allow you to see your payment that is received. Look at the following month’s statement to see if the invoices you paid previously are listed as outstanding. For further information on those open invoices please email acctrec@ntfb.org.

When should I expect my statement?
Electronic statements are sent by the 4th of each month. If you do not receive your statement, please contact the Accounting Team at acctrec@ntfb.org. Remember to pay based upon statement balance, not individual invoices. If there is a credit balance, there is no need to pay. Contact cprteam@ntfb.org with any changes to the billing contact information.

What happens if I am past due?
If your Agency account has invoices 61-90 days past due, you will be notified by email. If your Agency account has invoices over 90 days past due,  you will be placed on accounting hold and will be unable to order or receive food until the account is brought to current. 

Can I pay in cash?
We do not accept cash or personal checks. You must pay using a company check, cashier’s check, or money order. As of now, we cannot accept online payments.

Can I view my balance online?
Not at this time.

Distribution

Do I pick up my order by appointment or walk-in?
At this time, no appointment is necessary when picking up an order. The Agency area is open from 7 to 11:30 am and from 1 to 3 pm.

Can I add something from this week’s shopping list to last week’s order?
Do not add to your original order. You may place an additional order as long as it falls into the 48-hour timeframe. For example, if an order was placed on Thursday to pick up on Tuesday and there are items that you would like to add, then you can place an additional order before the 2 business days deadline, which would be Thursday close of business (5 pm).

What are add-ons? Is there a cost for these items?
Add-ons are handling fee items of limited quantity that are available only at the Perot Family Campus (Plano) and are not on the online shopping list. You must fill out an add-on form when signing in at the agency desk. If an item has a handling fee, it will be posted; otherwise, these items are free and can include bakery, produce, and dairy.

Do I need my Partner Agency number when picking up my order?
Yes, you must provide your agency number when picking up to verify that you are getting the correct order. 

Is it appropriate to tip NTFB staff for their help or support of our agencies?
Although we greatly appreciate your sentiments, it is not appropriate to tip individual staff members for their assistance and support. In fact, personally accepting a gift is against company policy and we ask that employees not be put in a position of having to choose whether or not to accept a personal gift. Tipping an NTFB staff member can jeopardize the recipient’s job and be grounds for loss of Agency membership with NTFB. If you would like to give a donation or contribute in some general way to the Food Bank, please contact the philanthropy department, and they will inform you of any needs and ways in which to donate.

Is it appropriate to give gift cards to NTFB staff to show appreciation?
NTFB staff are not allowed to accept personal gifts or gift cards from partner agencies or their staff. If an Agency wishes to give a personal gift or gift cards, the donation will be immediately given to the Human Resources Director to make the gift available to all staff through a raffle drawing.

Can I bring food and snacks to share with NTFB staff?
It is acceptable to do so if the items are not intended for one particular staff member and will be made available for all NTFB staff.

Do I need to keep my invoices?
Yes, it is a requirement to keep all NTFB invoices with two signatures for three years.

What if my invoice is incorrect and I need a credit or adjustment?
To receive credit for an item due to discrepancy (missing items, incorrect items, excessively damaged goods), please complete a credit request form within 3 business days from which the product was received. The product must be returned in the condition in which it was received. Products distributed in cases must be returned as a full case, with no exception.

Monthly Reporting

When is my monthly report due? What if I fail to turn in my report?
Reports are due by the 5th of each month, for the previous month. If you fail to submit your reports, your account may be placed on hold and you will not be able to place any new orders.

Why is it so important to turn in my monthly report?
NTFB uses these numbers to report to the Texas Department of Human Services to determine future allocations of USDA commodities. They also provide service numbers to Feeding America to use as hunger facts when procuring food products and lobbying for more funds allocated through Congress.

How do I know that I have correctly submitted my monthly report?
Once you have submitted the report, you should receive an email confirmation to the email address you have entered.

Should I keep a hard copy of my monthly reports, and for how long?
You should keep an electronic copy or a hard copy for at least one year.

What should I do if I am having technical issues with my computer, and cannot submit my monthly report?
Contact the Partner Agency Resources Team via email at cprteam@ntfb.org or by phone at 214-330-1396, letting them know of the issues. Since the monthly reports are submitted via our website, you can enter your reports from any computer (Ex: library, home, or someone else’s computer).

What questions should I put on my application to make the monthly reporting process easier?
Pantry program intake forms can include names and age breakdowns of each household member receiving assistance.  On-site feeding programs can gather their numbers based on a sign-in sheet or an intake form.

What do I do if I forget my password?
Contact the Partner Agency Resources Team at cprteam@ntfb.org to retrieve your login.

Ordering

How do I get set up as a user?
Your Agency will receive online ordering access information before or immediately after your Orientation. If you would like to add users, please email cprteam@ntfb.org with the name of the user including the email address, Agency name and number.

Who should be set up as a user?
We recommend that your Agency Director, Pantry Manager or Food Contact person, and your Cook (if applicable) be set up as users. There is currently no limit on number of users per Agency.

Can I add something to my order after I have submitted my cart?
Do not add to your original order. You can simply place an additional order as long as it is 2 business days prior to the pick-up or delivery time of your previously submitted order. Submitting multiple orders for the same delivery/pick up date and time is perfectly acceptable. We do ask that you be conscientious when placing multiple orders and limit them. We recommend that you do not use the pencil icon to edit your order. Doing so may result in you losing some items.

When will I be notified of my order status?
After ordering through the online shopping system, you will be emailed an acknowledgment letting you know that your order request has been received by the Food Bank.  Approximately 24-36 hours before your pick up or delivery date, you should receive another email stating that your order has been processed.  At that time, you may check the order management component of the shopping system for your order status that will say “Released.”  If you have any questions, you may contact Order Services at aeorders@ntfb.org.

What are handling fee items (HF)?
Handling Fees are fees that an Agency pays to share in the cost of shipping, handling and storing items. Items with a handling fee of .14 cents a pound come from sources like the USDA, Feeding America, and local product donors. Items listed at .28 cents per pound are purchased by the Food Bank at retail value.

When is my order due?
Your order is due at the close of business 2 business days before your scheduled delivery time or your chosen pick up date. Example: I normally receive/pick up my order on Monday, so my order must be submitted by close of business on Wednesday, allowing Thursday and Friday for my order to be processed.

What if I didn’t place my order in time?
Unfortunately, you will not receive an order due to the policy in place to ensure prompt and accurate orders for every Agency. No exceptions can be made to this policy.

How often is the shopping list updated?
The shopping list is represented in real-time, so items and quantities can change as often as every 3 minutes. You must refresh the online page in order to see the real-time status of a product. Remember, items are on a first-come, first-served basis.  Depending on the number of orders, some items may be out of stock by the time an Agency’s order is processed.

Do you process orders on holidays or holiday closings?
No, we do not process orders on holidays or days we are closed. If the food bank is closed on one of the days you have allowed for processing, the order will be rejected since it does not account for the full 2 business days. Please consider holiday closings when placing orders.

Compliance Audits

Do I have to complete Civil Rights Training every year?
Yes, you must have any staff and volunteers who regularly interact with clients trained on civil rights standards, per USDA guidelines. This training must be conducted yearly; the time of training is at the discretion of the agency. A training log must be signed for all who attend training and that log must be kept for 2 years. You can find this training here.

How long does a Food Handler and Food Safety Manager Certification last?
Food Handler Certification is good for two years; Food Safety for Food Banking certificate of completion is good for two years; Food Safety Manager Certification is good for five years.
The Food Safety certificate is required for pantries and the Food Safety Manager Certification is required for all on-site feeding programs (for those who prepare and serve food at the agency). For after school programs, NTFB has designed a food safety training for program type. All agencies should have at least one of these certifications.

When do I need a health inspection from the city?
Whenever you are cooking food for others, your kitchen must be inspected by the city or state and must meet their local health regulations. These inspections times may vary; check with your county or city to get its inspection policy. This includes daycares, senior centers, soup kitchens, shelters, and any other program that prepares and serves hot meals.

What do I do if our location changes?
Inform a member of the Partner Agency Resources Team immediately for a site evaluation and approval, and request an address change from the IRS so they can update your 501(c)3. We will need a copy of their confirmation for our records.

Can I give food to anyone who looks like they need it?
Food provided by the Food Bank can only be given to clients that meet financial eligibility; income eligibility guidelines are provided by the state, to us, and our member network. In case of one-time emergencies, you may provide food to anyone who states they have a need. Upon a return visit by this person, you will need to gather their household income and compare this with the state's TEFAP income guidelines.

Can we raise funds by using food provided by NTFB?
Food provided by the Food Bank may never be given in return for currency, merchandise, volunteer efforts, or any other in-kind payment system. Any of the above mentioned activities may be grounds for loss of membership with NTFB.

How many times must I update the temperature logs?
Logs must be updated every time your program is in operation or a minimum of twice per week, whichever is more. Logs must be kept on all freezers and refrigerators.

Can we pray or have clients attend a religious service before giving out food?  
Religious programming must not be required for receiving food assistance. Signs and literature can be present and made available at the site, as well as invitations to participate in activities after food is provided to clients, provided it is made absolutely clear that participation is not mandatory.

What if we want to change our distribution times?
Inform the Food Bank immediately if you change distribution times. Remember, NTFB Partner Agency pantries must be open to the public a minimum of once per week for at least three hours in urban areas and a minimum of once per month in rural areas for a total of at least three hours per month as stated in your Partner Agency Agreement.

What do I do if I want to begin an additional feeding program?
Please inform the Food Bank of your desire to add a program, and we will inform you of the process of receiving permission and changing your member status. DO NOT use Food Bank product in a program that has not been properly approved by the Food Bank.

Delivery

What should I do if the driver is late?
We ask that you give the truck an hour's timeframe from delivery, in case driving conditions or cargo loading causes late arrival. If the truck arrival time is over that time, then please contact NTFB Logistics at 214-330-1396 and we will provide you with an estimated time of arrival.

How should the produce be divided between the Agencies?
In general, any produce sent in bulk should be dispersed EVENLY between the partners. If a partner needs more or less of the produce, that should be discussed and agreed upon by the partners and not solely decided upon by the Site Coordinator.  If you receive produce in bulk to share, NTFB invoices on an agency rotation to evenly distribute weight for the agencies so no one agency gets credit for all produce pounds. If any questions of fairness arise, contact the Partner Agency Resource Team at cprteam@ntfb.org

Do I need to have my pallet cover when picking up?
All Partner Agency representatives receiving refrigerated products either from the NTFB or group delivery sites will be REQUIRED to use the pallet blanket(s) to transport the goods. Every Partner will receive one blanket at no charge, any additional blankets needed there is a cost associated. If your agency needs a replacement or additional blankets please email cprteam@ntfb.org for those.

Agency University

What is Agency University?
Agency University (AU) is an education program of the North Texas Food Bank (NTFB). Through courses offered at the Food Bank and online, the Agencies learn valuable capacity building skills in various areas of nonprofit development, empowering the Agencies and inspiring organizational growth.

How does participating in AU affect my Agency?
Each AU course is designed to present valuable information in a realistic and accessible way. The skills you can develop include anything from Health and Nutrition best practices to Fundraising strategies and Accounting basics. All you have to do is implement your new skills in your organization after taking the class!

How many classes am I required to take?
The NTFB strongly encourages but does not require, the completion of any AU classes.

How much does it cost to take a class at AU?
AU is completely FREE to all NTFB Partner Agencies!

Where are the sessions held?
AU courses are available online. Refer to the Agency University section of our Partner Agency Resources page for specific course information.

How can I get registered?
Email the cprteam@ntfb.org and request a login. Once we have received the request an email invite will be sent to you from Learn Upon. This link is unique to your email address and you must set up a profile before accessing any courses offered. If you don't receive the invite, please check junk folders for email from Learn Upon. 

Pre-Membership

How can my organization or church get food from the North Texas Food Bank?
The following are necessary in order to become a Partner Agency: 
• Be recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c) 3 not for profit, charitable organization.
• Offer services directly to the ill, needy, or children (under 18 years), free of charge and with no requirement to attend any kind of service.
• Distribute food as an emergency food box or as a meal or snack prepared on site to be consumed on the premises.
• Continuous operation as a food program for at least 1 month.
• Program sites are treated by licensed pest control at least twice a year.

Complete the pre-screen application found on the Partnership tab in the Agency Zone. 

If your pre-screen application is approved, a formal application will be completed, and a site visit conducted.  If the formal application grants membership, a second site visit will be conducted, and an invitation to Orientation will be issued.

Food & Nutrition

How should I handle nutrition requests from special needs clients?
Many of your clients may be facing health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and obesity.  In other cases, you may be dealing with food allergies, cultural preferences, and cooking limitations.  All of these factors may affect the appropriateness of the foods your pantry or feeding program provides.  

The first step is to know your population.  Do your best to know what issues your clients are facing and concerned with. You may not be able to cater to everyone individually, but you can get a collective idea of what your clients' needs are. 

Overall, you want to try to offer the best variety of nutritious foods available. Regardless of whether someone has diabetes, high cholesterol or obesity, the same practical nutrition guidelines may be applied in all situations. If you are doing your best to provide staple items that are low in fat, sodium, sugar, and those that are high in fiber, vitamins and minerals, then you are meeting the needs of all your clients and contributing to their overall health.  

Completely avoiding unhealthy foods is not always possible, but try to limit the frequency and amount offered to clients. All foods can be part of a healthy diet in moderation. It’s important to balance out your grocery and menu items with more nutritious options whenever possible.   

How do I build a healthy package of groceries for a family?
A nutritious grocery package should include components from different food groups, including grains, fruits, vegetables, protein, and dairy.  

Refer to the samples of food pantry guidelines in the handbook. These guidelines are personalized based on the MyPlate recommendations on gender, age, and activity level. Calorie levels are listed for each individual and converted to family packages. This takes the guesswork out of knowing whether you are giving too little or too much food and ensures that your clients are getting the nutritious food they need to nourish their families. 

Once you know what items to stock your pantry with, it’s easier to make the appropriate decisions when ordering online from the NTFB or purchasing additional groceries from another source. 

I have an on-site feeding program; what components should be included to create a well-balanced meal?
Use ChooseMyPlate.gov to plan your on-site meals.  Ideally, each meal should include at least 3 of the 5 food groups (fruits, vegetable, grains, protein, dairy) with fruits and/or vegetables taking up the largest portion of the plate. For example, a grain, protien such as meat, eggs, or beans, and fruits and/or vegetables. You can also easily incorporate dairy in your meals by simply adding cheese or serving a glass of milk. You might decide to serve all the items separately, or contribute some of them in a casserole. For example, you could serve a chicken drumstick with some brown rice, broccoli, carrots and a glass of milk, or you could serve spaghetti with meat sauce along with salad and a glass of milk.  In the first meal, all the components are served separately. In the second meal, there are three components in the spaghetti (pasta, tomato sauce, and ground meat) and the other components are served on the side.  

Meal planning can be a fun and creative activity. If you run out of ideas, try searching recipe sites like all recipesrecipe finderCooking Matters recipes, or Click 'N Cook for inspiration. Many sites let you search by ingredient. For example, let’s say you have ground beef and potatoes. If you choose to search by ingredient, you would enter those ingredients, and the site would pull up all the recipes it can find with those ingredients.  

Also, consider consulting with our Nutrition Services Team (nutrition@ntfb.org) for new ideas.  Don’t forget to use the Nutrition Services Team for ideas to improve the nutritional quality of your meals without greatly increasing the cost!

What are some ways to ensure that the food you collect from the NTFB is properly handled and safe to eat?
Most people wonder, “How long can I keep a product after the product date has passed?” The answer to this question depends on a number of factors. Some are simple, other are complicated.

A.  Keep Cold Foods Cold and Hot Foods Hot
Frozen and refrigerated product should be maintained in cold temperatures during transport if possible. It should also be delivered and stored as quickly as possible.  Food that is exposed to the temperature danger zone between 41-135 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 2 hours may become unsafe to eat. Bacteria grows rapidly between 41 degrees and 135 degrees Fahrenheit. Be sure to monitor your coolers and freezers for maintaining the proper and safe temperatures. 

Meats may be frozen prior to their expiration date. You may distribute this to clients if that product is distributed frozen within 6 months and clients are told to prepare the entire product immediately after thawing. Previously frozen foods should never be thawed and then re-frozen.

B.  Check the Date and Inspect the Product            
The North Texas Food Bank’s policy is to discard foods that are bottled or jarred past the product date or if liquids appear cloudy or discolored. Always inspect your product upon receiving.

C.  When in Doubt, Throw it Out!   
The North Texas Food Bank’s policy is to discard bulging, rusted or severely dented cans with metal touching metal, opened or leaking packages, and broken seals. If you notice items with these flaws when you unpack them at your facility, do not distribute them or cook with them.   

Do not distribute out of date perishable products, such as packaged fresh produce, fresh meats, and dairy products to your clients. Products requiring refrigeration should not be distributed to clients past the use, sell, or pull by dates due to the possible growth of pathogens that can cause food-borne illness. Be sure to use the FEFO (First Expired, First Out) method of stocking and distributing your inventory. On-site feeding programs should always make sure that food is cooked or re-heated and held at the proper temperatures before serving.  Please note that if you have any concerns about the product’s integrity or food safety, practice caution.  Remember: When in doubt, throw it out!  

Why is it important to partner with the NTFB to provide nutrition education for your clients?
Eliminating hunger takes more than just providing a meat. Eliminating hunger requires both short and long term solutions including food and education. We support the philosophy that you can "give a man a fish and he eats for a day, but teach him how to fish, and he can eat for a lifetime." Providing nutrition education to low-income clients makes a tremendous difference in the quality of their lives. They learn the life skills needed to cook, shop, and make better food choices, allowing them to feed their families nutritious meals on a budget. The NTFB is making an effort to provide quality, nutritious food to those you serve. We also provide free educational resources to your clients, such as food resource management class series (Cooking Matters), grocery store tours (Cooking Matters at the Store), and other various nutrition education workshops, cooking demonstrations, and nutritious handouts and materials upon request. For more information or to request nutrition education for your agency, contact the Nutrition Services Team.

For more resources and updates, check the Food and Nutrition areas on the North Texas Food Bank's website.

Food 4 Kids

What types of sites are eligible to participate in the F4K program?
The Food 4 Kids program is available to elementary school or pre-K centers that act as a primary daily care for children up to 6th grade. While most of our sites are public elementary schools, other types of sites may be eligible as well. Please contact Food4Kids@ntfb.org to determine your eligibility.

How do I sign my site up for the program?
Please contact Food4Kids@ntfb.org to request information on the F4K enrollment process. Initially, your school will be placed on a 'pending' list. A member of the Child Programs team will contact you when we have an opening. Once your site is enrolled you will be contacted to attend a mandatory training session.

Are there eligibility requirements for a child to receive the backpack?
The F4K program is designed to serve only chronically hungry children who are likely not receiving meals over the weekend. A child who is participating in the school’s free and reduced program may not necessarily be chronically hungry. The site coordinator is in charge of asking the child questions suggested in their toolkit if they are unsure if the child is chronically hungry. A referral form must be filled out for each child for them to be able to participate in the program. 
 
What is a Site Coordinator?
The Site Coordinator facilitates the F4K program at a particular site, and acts as the primary contact person to the NTFB and Child Programs Department. 

What is a F4K Toolkit?
The F4K Toolkit is the training binder that each Site Coordinator receives upon attending training. The Toolkit contains all the necessary resources and instructions needed in order to facilitate the program.
 
How do I receive food for the program?
Upon arrival at the NTFB campus, your order will be invoiced and processed at the time of pickup. All that is required to receive your food is your green agency card with the following information:

  • Agency name
  • Agency number
  • Number of cases

When and where do I pick up my order?
The pickup location is at the PFC warehouse, at 3677 Mapleshade Lane Plano, TX 75075. 

Pickups can be made during these times:

  • Monday-Friday: 7:00 am –12:00 pm and 1:00 pm- 3:00 pm

Parking:

  • All pickups will take place on northwest side of the building (back of building)
  • Take 2nd entrance off Maplshade Lane, the southwest side of building
  • Go on the side of the building to the left to get to the back (Agency entrance)
  • Please watch for pedestrians
  • Agency parking is alongside the back of the building, in parking spots located in front of dock doors #22-25
  • Back into any of those spots; leave space between your vehicle and building for product to be brought to you
  • Check in with NTFB staff through the agency entrance

Will there be someone at the NTFB to help me load my order into my car?
While our warehouse employees are often willing to help wherever they can, we cannot guarantee that an employee will be available to help you at pick-up. If you are not able to load your own vehicle, please bring someone with you to assist.
 
Is there an option to have our orders delivered to our site?
Currently, we are not offering delivery. We do encourage and allow you to coordinate group pick-ups with other schools in your district if that is more convenient for you.
 
Where do I store the food once I get it back to my site?
All food must be stored at least 6 inches off the ground and in an area where others do not have access. This can either be a closet, room, or cabinet.
 
What should I do if I find expired or damaged food in my order?
If you find expired or damaged food, please throw it away. Also, make a note of this loss in your monthly report. If you receive a large quantity of expired or damaged food, or are experiencing this problem consistently, please contact Food4Kids@ntfb.org. Make sure to follow the FEFO (first expired, first out) rule to ensure that inventory is being properly distributed to avoid items becoming expired.
 
When do I distribute the food to the students?
Please distribute the food to your students every Friday or the last day children attend on any given week. It is best to pass out the food at the end of the day so the children do not open the bag or eat the food while in school.
 
Am I required to use the backpacks provided by the NTFB?
You are not required to use the backpacks provided by the NTFB, but you must place the sack of food in some type of bag so that it is not visible to others. You can use the child’s own backpack if you wish, or some other type of bag or tote.
 
Do I have to obtain parent permission before I distribute food to a student?
The NTFB does not require that you obtain parent permission. However, if you do choose to require parent permission, please send the permission slip home either before you begin distributing, or during the first week of distribution.
 
What reports do I have to submit to the NTFB?
The only report your site needs to submit to the NTFB is your F4K Monthly Report. This report is submitted online and is due by the 5th of each month for the previous month. 
 
Will my site be monitored?
Yes, but not each year. All site visits will be scheduled in advance, and follow-up emails will be sent outlining any necessary action that needs to be taken.