North Texas Food Bank Distribution Center
DALLAS –– During the summer months, demand for donations at The North Texas Food Bank jumps as students trade school for home. As such, when classes begin in late August, stock is unusually low and the food bank must issue an urgent plea to help fill pantry shelves.
"What we have right now in the warehouse, it usually takes two weeks to turn over one completely," said Jeffrey Clapper, a spokesman for the food bank. "With our shortage now, it's taking less than a week."
The food bank supplies donations to 262 agencies in 13 North Texas counties. When it incurs a shortage, needy families across the region suffer –– Clapper says the food bank has a demand of 300,000 meals a day. It's currently able to distribute an estimated 175,000.
Anyone who wishes to donate can do so Mondays through Saturdays at the North Texas Food Bank’s Cockrell Hill distribution center, at 4500 S. Cockrell Hill Rd. During business hours, leave canned donations in the lobby. After-hours donations should be left by the front door.
Most needed items: “Nutritious, family-size, non-perishable canned foods such as vegetables, fruits and meats.” Examples are canned chicken and tuna; peanut butter; canned or dry beans; chili or stew; ‘shelf-stable milk’; rice; and low sodium canned soup and vegetables.
Clapper says the food bank's main warehouse is dotted with empty spaces. With children at home for the summer, they weren't participating in subsidized lunch or breakfast programs, putting the onus back on the parent. Also an issue: Clapper says the period between the first day of school and the holiday season is marked by a "lull."
"A lot of people think, 'well, I'll just wait until Thanksgiving or Christmas to make a donation of food or money' when, in actuality, we've depleted our stores," or inventory, Clapper said.
Those who wish to help can also volunteer their time –– the food bank needs 300 volunteers each day to help sort and pack food at the distribution centers. Anyone older than 10 can help Tuesday through Saturdays. Volunteer at this link or call 214.270.2055. If volunteers aren't there to sort the food, it doesn't go out.
"That's food that's promised or that we could give out that we can't give out because it's not sorted or packaged up," Clapper said.
The food bank is also accepting monetary donations: $1 can provide three meals. Head here to do that.
"It's really a three-fold thing," Clapper said. "A lack of food, a lack of funds and a lack of volunteers."