The North Texas Food Bank’s Response to Covid-19
Like the rest of the world, the North Texas Food Bank (NTFB) is closely monitoring the evolving Coronavirus situation.
We are following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), our national partner Feeding America and local entities including the Dallas County Health & Human Services (DCHHS).
Meeting the Need in North Texas
NTFB has temporarily suspended most traditional volunteer shifts and is working with the displaced hospitality employees to create family meal boxes. This partnership provides income thanks to Shiftsmart and a fund at the Communities Foundation of Texas called Get Shift Done while also providing a critical service to the community.
Texas National Guard
On Sunday, April 5, more than 250 members of the National Guard were deployed at the North Texas Food Bank.
- The efforts by the Texas National Guard enabled the Food Bank to create at least 60,000 family meal boxes each week and making these available for our Partner Agencies and via our Mobile Pantry program.
- By shifting to a box model, we created a no to low touch distribution model that is safer for our partners and the neighbors they serve.
- The Food Bank enabled our Partner Agencies to create their own food boxes by providing them with boxes and food items.
- NTFB opened a temporary warehouse space in Plano to help meet the need for boxed food. This warehouse was also staffed by members of the Texas National Guard.
- The Mass Care Task Force is now active. This is a collaborative partnership between NTFB, The Red Cross, The Salvation Army and Volunteer Now.
- We are working with local school districts to ensure continuity of our Food 4 Kids program as well as the School Pantry program.
- Our team worked with the City of Dallas to prepare and deliver snack/hydration kits for the homeless who were moved to the Convention Center.
- Our Mobile Pantry program is now exclusively a drive-thru model to create a “low touch” experience.
Key Statistics & Information
- The Texas National Guard is back at the North Texas Food Bank to provide additional help through December in our production lines and Mobile Pantry distributions.
- Food 4 Kids backpacks will be available to all students at our regular sites and we are removing the enrollment/referral process.
- A Feeding America study estimates there will be an 8 billion meal gap nationally between demand for charitable food assistance and supply available to the Feeding America network through June 2021.
- The September unemployment rate for Dallas-Fort Worth was 8.3%, compared to 6.8% in August.
- From March 20 through the end of September, there have been 218 Mobile Pantry distributions across our 13-county service area, serving 80, 755 households.
- Since the pandemic began (March through September) more than 63M meals were distributed, a 45% increase as compared to the previous year. We distributed more than 60M pounds distributed, a 72% increase over last year. This includes 14M SNAP meals.
- For the week of October 12, NTFB distributed more than 2M nutritious meals, an increase of 66 percent from this week last year.
- For the week of October 5, NTFB distributed more than 1.9M nutritious meals, an increase of 49 percent from this week last year.
Precautionary Hygiene Measures
Right now, the food bank's volunteer and distribution efforts are continuing thanks to the support of the workers employed thanks to the Get Shift Done fund. Additional precautionary hygiene measures and contingencies are in place to maintain the health and wellness of our staff, Get Shift Done team members as well as those that receive our food:
- We are taking necessary measures to ensure all employees, visitors, and persons served who are experiencing any symptoms of illness stay home and avoid contact
- Prior to each shift NTFB staffers and anyone entering our building will have their temperature checked
- We are creating additional spacing between the groups working on the volunteer floor
- External facing staff have been provided with sanitizing kits to safeguard themselves and the public
- Hand sanitizing stations are available across the volunteer floor
- Tools used during each shift will be cleaned after each shift
- High touch surfaces will be cleaned frequently
- We are following the recommendations of the CDC to help stop the spread of germs and have posted their guidelines in public areas as a reminder for those coming to the Food Bank
- All team members will be prompted to wash hands before and during shifts and we will also have gloves available
In addition, we are also providing the following suggestions to employees, volunteers, partners and other supporters:
- If you feel ill, stay home and avoid exposing others
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and help young children do the same. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you do not have a tissue, use your sleeve (not your hands)
For additional information and resources please visit the CDC website or call the Texas Department of State Health Services hotline: 1-877-570-9779 with hours: 7:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m., Monday - Friday.
Thank you for your continued support of the North Texas Food Bank, we are committed to serving our neighbors in need.