North Texas Food Bank Opens Repack Room

The new room gives volunteers the opportunity to repack bulk items into smaller quantities for distribution to neighbors facing hunger.

Volunteers at the North Texas Food Bank can now help repackage bulk dry goods into smaller quantities that neighbors can use thanks to the opening of the Repack Room.

A project developed by NTFB’s 2022 Emerging Leaders class, the Repack Room ensures NTFB can maximize its resources by purchasing large quantities of rice, beans and other goods while also preventing the Food Bank from ever having to turn away bulk donations of dry goods.

“Not only will we be able to cut costs on food purchases and better steward our resources moving forward, but we’ll also offer our amazing volunteers an additional opportunity to serve the community,” said NTFB President and CEO Trisha Cunningham.

Inside the Repack Room, 10 volunteers will take 1-ton bags of rice, pinto beans or pasta — quantities that are far too large for individuals to transport home — and repackage them into 1-pound bags that can be ordered by NTFB’s feeding partners for use by neighbors. Once packed into smaller bags, volunteers will help seal the smaller bags, label them and place them into boxes for distribution.

The Emerging Leaders program is a one-year leadership development cohort where staff who are selected to participate come up with a creative solution to an NTFB challenge. The Repack Room was an idea they worked on with support from Senior Director of Logistics Mike Cannon, Senior Facilities Manager Bill Simmons as well as Production Manager Josue Gomez and the volunteer and food sourcing teams.

Once a plan for the room was established, Josue and his team identified standard operating procedures to ensure the room, which is often called a “clean room,” will run smoothly and safely.

Johnny Jenkins, Strategic Initiatives Manager and a graduate of the 2022 Emerging Leaders program, said the original goal of the space was to save money while allowing for bulk donations of dry goods, but they found from talking with other food banks that one of the main benefits of a Repack Room is the new volunteer experience it affords.

“It’s a new opportunity and can really add to the volunteer experience,” Johnny said.

Having smaller bags of rice, pasta and beans packed also means those items will be continuously available to partner agencies to order alongside the fresh produce, meat and other nutritious food they’re distributing to neighbors facing hunger.

Because volunteers will be repackaging food, there are some additional guidelines they must follow to keep NTFB in good standing with food safety regulations.

Volunteers must wear closed-toe shoes and no jewelry is allowed (with the exception of medical alert bracelets and necklaces worn underneath gloves or clothing and wedding bands with no stones worn underneath gloves). Short-sleeves are recommended as long-sleeves must be tucked into gloves and no loose clothing is allowed.

NTFB will provide every Repack Room volunteer with gloves, a hairnet and, if needed, a beard net. Those items must be worn while in the room.

The room is also still available for sponsorship.

NTFB, in partnership with distribution hubs Crossroads Community Services and Sharing Life, is currently distributing around 400,000 meals a day, largely through its network of partner pantries and community organizations.

Interested in volunteering in the Repack Room? Visit

Kathleen Petty is a communications manager for the North Texas Food Bank.