FORT WORTH, Texas — For eight hours a day, six days a week, food is collected, sorted, inventoried and boxed for distribution inside the Tarrant Area Food Bank.
Stephen Raeside serves as the chief development officer for the Tarrant Area Food Bank. He's watched the need for food among North Texas families grow and fluctuate. Raeside said he believes there is no reason why anyone in our community should go hungry.
"Hunger has grown as the population has grown, even without the impact of the pandemic, inflation, and other factors," Raeside said.
Right now, one out of six people in the community is at risk of going hungry. When you factor in children, the number hits home a little harder.
"One out of four children, that is roughly 200 thousand children. Hunger tends to be quiet in America," said Raeside.
But Food Bank workers have not stayed quiet about needing more space. They have outgrown the current facility, even with having distribution work away from their main headquarters. This week, Fort Worth city council members authorized more than $3 million for expansion. The money will help purchase this empty building near the food bank.
The Ordinance reads:
Authorize the Execution of a Contract with the Tarrant Area Food Bank in an amount of up to $3,200,000.00 to Acquire the Property and Building at 205 N. Vacek Street, in Order to Expand its Capacity for Food Acquisition and Distribution in its Service Area.
"When this new building opens, we will be able to distribute 20 million pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables in the first year alone," Stephen Raeside said.
The food bank serves 13 counties in North Texas. Their distribution covers 10 thousand square miles. They provide meals to half-a-million people on a regular basis. Raeside said the expansion will also improve their ability to provide better nutrition to families they serve as well. The turnaround time for food donated or purchased by the food bank is about 72 hours to get it to recipients.
The Tarrant Area Food Bank also relies heavily on volunteers. Organizations with members looking to complete community service hours are a perfect match for the TAFB. They have opportunities for volunteer work Monday through Saturday at their Cullen Street facility.
The Food Bank also works to deter shame about families who need help because there are some cases where people have been reluctant to ask for help. But Raeside said, with today's economy, rise in prices for gas, food, utilities and more, the Food Bank can help rescue needy households.
"We ask people experiencing hunger to just raise their hand, please ask for help. We are there for them," Stephen Raeside said.
Anyone interested in becoming a Hunger Hero by volunteering or donating to the Tarrant Area Food Bank can visit their website.