Innovative Partnerships Help NTFB Meet the Needs of North Texas
The North Texas Food Bank has been serving the hunger needs of North Texas for 40 years. And while the hunger landscape has changed over the years, one constant has been the importance of community partnerships and collaboration that make our work not just possible, but more impactful.
In the recent third installment of an exclusive virtual series for NTFB supporters, NTFB Director of Community Relations Kim Morris offered a unique closer look into our efforts in building innovative and strategic relationships with external partners to strengthen the reach and impact of our feeding strategies. In her presentation, Kim focused on three main areas: know the need, meet the need, reduce the need.
Know the Need
Kim began with highlighting the importance of understanding the 13-county area that NTFB serves and discussed the 130 million meal gap number necessary to meet the hunger needs in North Texas. As Kim explained, it is not enough to know how many meals are needed; we must know where the need is greatest. NTFB utilizes a variety of tools, such as the Hunger Index, to map high need areas as identified by the Feeding America food insecurity data, as well as the overlay of where NTFB serves. With these two factors placed together, NTFB can better understand the true gap in meals in a zip code and where our resources are most necessary.
Meet the Need
Kim went on to explain some of the ways NTFB is meeting the needs in communities, especially ones where we have previously not been meeting the need. This includes working with our current network of more than 250 Partner Agencies to help them expand. “When we spend the time to work with an agency, that agency grows. And what I mean by grow, is that it feeds more people,” she said.
As Kim explained, meeting the need also includes new initiatives, such as the Progressive Community Growth Model, which aims to facilitate growth in new communities by creating long-term sustainable solutions in areas of high need. She also introduced the Container Pantry Project that helps expand the capacity of current agencies, as well as the NTFB Partner Agency grants program that helps fund expansion at Partner Agencies. In FY21, NTFB awarded $1.2 million in grants to agencies.
Reduce the Need
Finally, Kim provided an overview of the ways the Food Bank is addressing the root causes of food insecurity to help reduce the need for food assistance. These underlying causes include financial stability, education, and health. While providing food for today and closing the meal gap will always be the Food Bank’s core competencies, we are also working with our current partners who provide these wrap-around services and building new partnerships to better address other issues our neighbors are facing and help them regain self-sufficiency. This includes innovative collaborations with workforce development partners, the medical community, and financial education partnerships.
All these initiatives are made possible by our incredible, committed supporters. We invite everyone to join us in the hunger fight by donating, volunteering and/or becoming an advocate. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for sponsorship opportunities.
The full video of Kim’s presentation, including success stories and Q&A, is below, followed by a couple of questions that we did not have time to address during the talk. We look forward to seeing everyone at our next Behind the Scenes event!
For clarification, please help me understand how we moved from 92M meals to 130M meals so quickly? How quickly will we move to 150M meals necessary? The unprecedented public health and economic crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a historic response by the North Texas Food Bank, distributing more meals annually than ever in our history. Based on Feeding America food insecurity projections, our community needs at least 130 million meals to meet the meal gap (what is needed to feed our neighbors experiencing hunger) and the sustained need in the coming year. We foresee distributing more than 150 million meals by 2025.
What ways can someone volunteer outside of packing at the large location? We build volunteer teams and we have one for the North Texas Food Bank so looking for different ideas to get people serving. We are fortunate to have thousands of volunteers supporting the Food Bank each year, and we are committed to providing a meaningful experience for them. For teams, outside of volunteering in our warehouse, we can help connect volunteers to our Partner Agency network, making it easier for them to support food pantries close to their home or business. We also welcome teams to host a canned food drive. There might also be times where we need groups to help at special events or administrative projects in the office. Learn more here.