The North Texas Food Bank’s Response to Covid-19
We are optimistic that with the growing widespread availability of the vaccine, more North Texans will be able to return to work and school and economic recovery can begin. But we also know that many of our neighbors will still feel the impacts of the pandemic for months or even years to come. We will continue to be on the frontlines ensuring those in need have nutritious food and working with our Partner Agencies to increase access to additional services that will help our neighbors regain self-sufficiency.
The North Texas Food Bank is 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) concerning COVID-19.
Meeting the Need in North Texas
NTFB has welcomed back volunteers to sort and pack food at our Perot Family Campus in Plano Thursday-Saturday. To keep our volunteers and staff safe we have implemented new policies and appreciate everyone's cooperation.
- 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 Mobile Pantry program is now exclusively a drive-thru model to create a “low touch” experience.
When restaurants and businesses shut down due to COVID-19, NTFB worked with Shfitsmart and a fund at the Communities Foundation of Texas called Get Shift Done to create family meal boxes. This partnership provided income to displaced hospitality employees while also providing a critical service to the community.
Key Statistics & Information
- The North Texas Food Bank provided access to 125,553,735 meals during Fiscal Year 21 (compared to almost 97 million in FY20).
- The unemployment rate for Texas in May 2021 was 6.5%, down from 6.7% in April 2021 and still higher than the national rate of 5.8%.
- Texas leads the nation in the highest projected number of people (not rates) who may experience food insecurity in 2021 with 4.8 million overall and 1.7 million children, according to new Feeding America projections.
- Thousands of people continue to face hunger in 2021 despite the historic response by the North Texas Food Bank and our partners to unprecedented public health and economic crisis caused by COVID-19.
- The recovery will be much slower for the most vulnerable populations who continue to experience disproportionate rates of food insecurity.
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.