Organization Announces Urgent Fundraising Goal to Meet Rising Demand During Recession
DALLAS (June 9, 2009) — Summer is here, but not every child has been looking forward to this time of year. Once school is out, many kids who depend on free or reduced-price meal programs may be left wondering what they will eat. The North Texas Food Bank (NTFB) is working to meet this important need with the launch of new summer children’s programs that will provide thousands of nutritious meals during the next three months. The organization is also calling for donations to help keep up with the rising demand from food pantries and other agencies during the recession, forcing it to cut back on new food purchases.
The NTFB has developed the new and ramped-up children’s meal programs in response to increasing community need and to help families during these tough economic times. Among the new programs announced today at an event at Voice of Hope Ministries, one of the 900+ programs that receives food through the NTFB:
Summer Lunch Box – A new pilot program reaching kids through various neighborhood locales (cold lunches delivered 5 days a week to distribution sites in underserved areas)
Food 4 Kids – First time summer extension of popular school-year backpack snack program consisting of daily (weekend snacks distributed through summer school)
Kids Cafe – Significantly expanded hot meal distribution through summer community programs such as YMCAs and organizations such as Voice of Hope Ministries The necessity of the new programs is all to real here in North Texas. New government data ranks Texas as the highest state for childhood food insecurity, with one in five Texas children struggling with hunger, even before the recession began. Meanwhile, NTFB food distribution to Member Agencies is already up 14 percent for the year.
While the children’s meal programs were made possible by a generous donation, the NTFB is still struggling to meet the day-to-day needs of its Member Agencies during the recession. The organization is working to raise a minimum of $400,000 in June to keep up with current demand.
“There is an urgent need for funds and food right now. As we enter the summer after months of increased demand, we’re now cutting back on purchasing staple items such as beans and other protein sources, as well as canned vegetables and fruit. We may have to cut milk purchases by late summer”, says Jan Pruitt, NTFB president and CEO. “Hunger does not take a summer vacation, so we are grateful to be able to help provide more kids with nutritious meals through our expanded children’s programs. But we ask supporters to continue to give generously so that we can help keep food on plates for North Texas families, seniors and children.”
Edward Franklin, president and CEO of Voice of Hope Ministries, which feeds 275 hot meals to children through Kids Cafe each day, says, “Many families are struggling during these tough times and we are blessed to be able to partner with the North Texas Food Bank to make sure that our students receive nutritious meals this summer. No child deserves to go to bed hungry.”
Also taking part at today’s program launch event, Preston Pearson, former Dallas Cowboys star and longtime NTFB supporter echoed the importance of giving back to the community.
“At tough times like this, it is vital for people to come together and help where they can,” says Pearson. “We hope North Texans will give of time and money to provide families in need an extra hand this summer and year-round.”
As part of its summer fundraising efforts, the NTFB has launched an aggressive campaign to help raise both awareness and much-needed dollars. Even a small donation makes a difference, as a dollar will provide four meals for the hungry. The campaign features billboard, radio and online PSAs with the touching stories of today’s hungry.
“While we typically receive 47 percent of our annual donations during the winter holiday season, the recession has made the need for year-round giving all the more urgent. We hope the summer campaign will bring the issue of hunger and our important mission to the forefront for the community,” says Pruitt.
Supporters can learn more about the new children’s meal programs, the summer awareness campaign, or make donations of funds or bulk food by visiting ntfb.org.
About North Texas Food Bank The North Texas Food Bank (NTFB) is a nonprofit hunger relief organization that distributes donated, purchased and prepared foods through a network of feeding programs in 13 North Texas counties. The NTFB supports the nutritional needs of children, families and seniors through education, advocacy and strategic partnerships. Close the Gap is the NTFB’s 3-year initiative to unite the community to narrow the food gap by providing access to 50 million meals annually. Founded in 1982, the NTFB is a certified member of Feeding America (formerly America’s Second Harvest – The Nation’s Food Bank Network). Last year 26 million meals were distributed. Each month agency pantries distribute food to more than 50,000 families and on-site meal programs serve 435,000 meals/snacks. Every dollar donated to the NTFB provides four meals for the hungry. Out of every dollar donated, 97 cents goes directly to hunger relief programs. To learn more about NTFB, visit ntfb.org.
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Tresa Hardt or Colleen Petersen
Lovell Public Relations
214-395-1918 (cell) or 972-788-4511 (ofc)
North Texas Food Bank