North Texas Food Bank Expands Fleet to Serve More North Texans Facing Hunger

Purchased with ARPA funds, the new fleet of vehicles allows NTFB to provide an additional 2.4 million meals annually.

El Banco de Alimentos del Norte de Texas unveiled its new fleet of trucks, trailers, and other vehicles today during an event at its Perot Family Campus in Plano. With the use of The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) funds, NTFB purchased 20 new fleet vehicles through Denton-based Peterbilt Motors Company to replace its fleet of leased trucks and trailers.

“The ARPA capacity-building grant that the North Texas Food Bank used to purchase our new vehicles is a testament to the continuous support and commitment of The Texas Department of Agriculture to address the issue of food insecurity across Texas,” said Trisha Cunningham, President and CEO of the North Texas Food Bank. “The savings from reduced transportation costs will help provide an additional 2.4 million meals annually for children, families, and seniors facing hunger in North Texas, a region that has the fourth highest number of food insecure people in the country. We could not do what we do in the fight against hunger without the continued support of our federal, state, and local government officials.”

The ARPA funds were distributed through the Food Bank Capacity Building Grant program, which awarded $95 million to Texas food banks, $12 million of which was given to the NTFB.

NTFB partnered with a local fleet manufacturer, Peterbilt, to purchase 12 Model 579 long-haul semi-trucks and eight Model 548 refrigerated box trucks, keeping the ARPA funds within the NTFB service territory.

Denton Mayor Gerard Hudspeth said the North Texas Food Bank has been a valued partner in meeting the needs of the community, and that he was grateful to hear the Food Bank worked with Peterbilt, which he said manufactures more than 100 trucks per day.

NTFB staff members took an exclusive tour of Peterbilt’s Denton manufacturing plant and got to witness firsthand the craftsmanship and dedication that goes into every Peterbilt truck as its first Model 579 rolled off the assembly line. The company and its employees furthered their partnership with the NTFB by volunteering at the Food Bank’s Perot Family Campus, boxing more than 7,500 meals to be distributed to those in need in North Texas.

“This partnership centers on shared values of quality, community, compassion, giving back and serving the local community,” said Jake Montero, Peterbilt assistant general manager for sales and marketing. “Together, we are driving change one truck and one meal at a time.”

Denton County Judge Andy Eads said Denton County saw triple the demand for food assistance during the pandemic and that he’s excited to continue working with the North Texas Food Bank, partner pantries and area farmers to meet the need.

“It’s a great day in North Texas because we have the North Texas Food Bank,” he said. “Congratulations on this new fleet. I can’t wait to see them on the highway.”

In addition to the trucks manufactured by Peterbilt, the NTFB used ARPA funds to purchase 11 53-foot refrigerated trailers from Great Dane Trailers, a mobile office called the SNAP Mobile, and two container pantries from Cruising Kitchens and four refrigerated produce pods from Robears Customs.

The NTFB SNAP Mobile was unveiled in Fiscal Year 2023 thanks in part to support from Tom Thumb/the Albertsons Foundation and the Kalman and Ida Wolens Foundation. The SNAP Mobile is staffed with a team that travels to isolated communities experiencing high rates of food insecurity and provides neighbors with assistance applying for SNAP and other programs.

Standalone container pantries provide access to nutritious food in underserved areas, thanks to support in part by NFI Industries, UnitedHealthcare and an anonymous donor, and are a short-term food storage solution that meets needs while a longer-term solution is being assessed. Each container pantry can hold roughly 3,000 pounds of food and is equipped with refrigeration that allows the NTFB to stock the pantry with fresh produce plus other pantry staples. If the container pantry is operational three days a week, the NTFB estimates that one container pantry can provide access to 36,000 pounds of food each month, or 360,000 nutritious meals each year.

Produce pods are stand-alone, refrigerated storage trailers that will be placed at Partner Agencies that currently are only equipped to store dry goods and shelf-stable products. Each produce pod can store up to four pallets of perishable items a week — which is the equivalent of 20,000 meals — and will increase access to nutritious food among our neighbors in high-needs, underserved rural and urban areas.

The new fleet of vehicles features updated branding and images that are meant to illustrate the fact that hunger exists in every corner of our community. It is not bound by race, color, creed, age or socio-economic level. Hunger can impact your coworkers, the children in your kids’ class, and your neighbors. The new trucks are already on the road delivering nutritious food to the NTFB’s Feeding Network of approximately 500 food pantries and organizations that are the hands and feet serving neighbors in their communities. Last year the NTFB provided access to more than 144 million nutritious meals across a 13-county service area that spans 10,000 square miles.

A recent USDA study showed that Texas is the second-hungriest state in the nation, and in fact, the 13 counties served by the NTFB have the fourth highest number of food-insecure people in the country. In North Texas, about 640,000 people do not know where their next meal will come from, and tragically more than one-third of those are children. The number of people facing hunger in North Texas could fill Globe Life Stadium where the Rangers play 16 times.

“Our new fleet of vehicles provides the North Texas Food Bank with the tools we need to help close the hunger gap in North Texas and provide children, adults, and seniors a hunger-free future. We are so grateful for the generous and critical support the community provides to further our mission,” continued Cunningham.