The North Texas Food Bank Provides 125 Million Meals Annually
Founded in 1982, the North Texas Food Bank (NTFB) is a hunger relief organization that distributes food across 13 north Texas counties with the help of a network of more than 200 partner agencies.
The NTFB was established by four women who began collecting and distributing donated food and grocery products through a network of charitable organizations across north Texas. Due to the hard work of the founders and generous community support, the NTFB succeeded in distributing more than 400,000 pounds of food in its first year to neighbors who were experiencing hunger.
Nearly 40 years later, the NTFB is still supported by generous donors who are committed to helping north Texans achieve food security. The need for food continues to grow, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused an unprecedented level of food insecurity. Based on a Feeding America report, approximately 800,000 north Texans do not have access to regular healthy meals, including 20 percent of the region’s children. North Texas is ranked as the sixth most food insecure region in the nation. To meet these needs, the NTFB distributed 125 million meals in 2020, the most in its history.
In addition to its regular operations, the NTFB runs the Food 4 Kids program to meet the needs of hungry children. Children who typically eat free or reduced priced meals at their elementary, middle, and high schools frequently face hunger at home, especially on weekends and other days when there is no school. In partnership with schools and social service programs in the 13-county distribution area, the NTFB delivers nutritious food to up to 11,000 food-insecure children each week.
Working with school staff members to assist chronically hungry kids, the NTFB’s Food 4 Kids program loads backpacks full of nutritious, nonperishable, kid-friendly food items for students to consume over the weekend. Already operating in more than 300 schools throughout the school year, the program is available to elementary schools that serve at least 50 percent of their student body free or reduced-price meals, and middle schools who serve at least 40 percent of their student body free or reduced-price meals.
The NTFB also runs a School Pantry program for schools where at least 90 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-price meals. This program provides additional non-perishable food items and fresh produce to students on a monthly basis. During the distribution days, which typically occur after school, students and their families go home with 20 to 25 pounds of shelf-stable food items and 15 pounds of produce. This amounted to more than 917,000 meals during the 2020–2021 school year. Schools that are interested in joining the NTFB’s Food 4 Kids or School Pantry program can send an email to ChildPrograms@ntfb.org for more information.
During the summer months, the NTFB continues its food distribution service as needed to schools that serve food-insecure children. In collaboration with school districts, the NTFB programs supply pantry staples and plan ways to distribute food backpacks.
Also caring for food-insecure seniors, the NTFB works with the Texas Department of Agriculture to distribute a senior food box called the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, locally known as PAN (People and Nutrition). Eligible seniors aged 60 and older can pick up a pre-packaged, 35-pound box of non-perishables once a month at any of the distribution sites across the food bank’s 13-county service area.