Keeping our Resolution
The first quarter of a new year always seems to pass quickly. For some, resolutions are now in full swing, but don’t worry, there’s still time to incorporate positive practices before the end of the year. I am still trying to follow my new eating plan. However, during the first months of 2019, far too many North Texas neighbors were not trying new diets or cleaning out closets. Today in our community more than 800,000 neighbors are food insecure, and when you are hungry, it is difficult to focus on anything beyond finding food. Hunger starves human potential and often prevents progress. At the North Texas Food Bank, our resolution is to provide access to nutritious food to our hungry neighbors, so they are nourished and empowered to reach their goals. Almost four months into the new year, we have made significant strides toward this resolution, achieving a hunger-free, healthy North Texas.
Our 2019 began in providing food assistance to federal employees who had gone several weeks without pay. Many had empty pantries and mounting bills to pay. NTFB hosted several food distribution sites for federal employees throughout North Texas and helped connect these neighbors with social services to provide relief during this time. Many were volunteers and donors of NTFB who never thought they would need food from us, but just like all our hungry neighbors, we were proud to give them a helping hand when they needed it.
In March, our new home, the Perot Family Campus, celebrated six months of operation. This state-of-the-art distribution center continues to advance our work, helping us provide access to more healthy foods throughout our community. Distribution center volunteers average packing one meal per minute during a shift, and at this rate, we are well on track to surpass the almost 9 MILLION pounds of food volunteers packed last year. On March 5, we hosted the 20th Annual Empty Bowls at the new facility and nearly 1,000 hunger fighters joined us, helping us fill empty plates and bowls across North Texas. We raised awareness and critical financial support, empowering our commitment to feed our hungry neighbors.
Just outside the Perot Family Campus, new plants sprout daily at Jan’s Garden, our new community learning garden named in memory of the Food Bank’s late CEO, Jan Pruitt. NTFB staff utilize the garden to train neighbors to seek affordable and sustainable food production in their backyards, patios and community gardens. With the skills to grow their own fruits and vegetables, gardening can transform communities and become a significant component in reducing food insecurity while increasing health education.
Beyond digging deep in Jan’s Garden, we are hitting the pavement to reach more hungry neighbors. The Mobile Pantry Program continues to expand and recently welcomed an additional truck to the fleet that will service Dallas County Community College District campuses where more than 40 percent of students are food insecure. Mobile pantries currently reach 52 sites with more on the way. They help us serve neighbors in hard-to-reach areas who do not have to be hungry because they cannot easily access nutritious foods.
In the months to come, we’ll continue to share our progress toward our resolution, and if your resolution is to help your community, please join NTFB in our important work. The most humbling moments of 2019 thus far involve the passion of our volunteer force. Thanks to their enthusiasm, the next few months are filled to the brim with people wanting to roll up their sleeves. If you are looking to take action, consider hosting a food drive or donating to our mission. We can’t do this work without you. To learn more, visit: www.ntfb.org/get-involved.
President and CEO, North Texas Food Bank
Trisha Cunningham, President and CEO
Trisha Cunningham is President and CEO of the North Texas Food Bank (NTFB) and is leading the fight against hunger in North Texas. Trisha and her team of 170 employees and 40,000 volunteers work with more than 230 partner agencies to provide access to nearly 72 million meals annually. For more than 30 years, Trisha has served her community in various capacities, most recently as Chief Citizenship Officer at Texas Instruments (TI). Her commitment to nourishing her neighbors is evident in her vast civic involvement, and when she is not volunteering her time in the community, she can be found with her husband Greg, and their two children, Chris and Carrie.