Happy Birthday to NTFB Founder Liz Minyard

The North Texas Food Bank founder reflects on the child who drove her to serve the community.

It was a little boy at her family’s grocery store that gave Liz Minyard the fuel she needed to help open the North Texas Food Bank in 1982.

Reflecting on that day during a celebration for her 70NS birthday this week, Liz says she remembers watching a little boy come up short by $1 while checking out at a Minyard Food Store. He was in a tough neighborhood and Liz says she looked around dumbfounded as no one stepped forward to help the child. After a few moments, she reached into her purse and handed him the dollar herself.

“I can’t stand the thought of these kids not eating,” she said. “But I knew I was going to be in trouble.”

Back at the store’s corporate office, Liz’s dad and uncle explained to her why she couldn’t just hand out money to shoppers. Their stores would be filled with people wanting cash, they said. Liz, though, stood her ground and said that since they were in the food business, they needed to be willing to help people who were facing hunger.

Liz had already been contacted by fellow NTFB founder Kathryn Hall, who worked at the Safeway grocery chain. Kathryn had been approached about the idea of a food bank by founders Jo Curtis and Lorraine Griffin Kircher, and together the women set out to obtain a warehouse where they could store surplus food from area grocery stores and distribute it to those in need.

“The need was even greater than we realized,” Liz said.

Still a member of the NTFB’s LIFE Council, Liz describes the work of the North Texas Food Bank more than 40 years after it opened as “truly amazing” and says she’s glad to continue to be involved as the NTFB strives to close the hunger gap in North Texas.

“It’s been a wonderful time and I still love it,” she said.

Liz recalled visiting Ross Perot as a 20-something businesswoman and asking for support to open the Food Bank. She said he and the whole Perot family have been instrumental in the Food Bank’s founding and growth, and Liz added that she long admired Bette for her commitment to fighting hunger.

NTFB President and CEO Trisha Cunningham said Liz and the other founding women laid the foundation for the work the NTFB is doing today and that she’s grateful Liz is still involved and passionate about the Food Bank.

“Just know that we are standing on their shoulders,” she said.

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