Hunger is not a new issue, but it now has a new story. As the unemployment rate continues to climb, thousands of North Texans who never dreamed they would need help from a food bank are now having a hard time putting food on the table for the first time, in the wake of layoffs, lost savings and other financial hardships during the recession. The North Texas Food Bank (NTFB) is launching its first-ever summer awareness and fundraising campaign to help bolster public support and meet the growing community need.
Overall, the NTFB has distributed 3 million more meals this year compared to last year. Additionally, in the last six months member food pantries and other agencies to which the NTFB supplies food have seen a significant 35 percent jump in the number of new clients reaching out for help for the first time – - a possible indicator of how the economic downturn is impacting the middle income and working poor.
Starting this month, the organization is launching an aggressive campaign to help raise awareness and much needed funds. A first-of-its-kind summer fundraising focus for the NTFB, the campaign features billboard, radio and online PSAs with the touching new stories of today’s hunger, such as:
Twins at 24. Single mom at 27. Hungry Today.
Promoted at 29. Laid off at 34. Hungry Today.
Empty Nest at 57. Empty Pantry at 84. Hungry Today.
The PSAs also point out the hard-hitting and often surprising facts of the North Texas hungry. For example, 40 percent of households served by the NTFB have at least one employed adult.
“These new stories of hunger may be outside the stereotype, but they are all too real. We are urging the community to help out now more than ever, as the recession hits home for our neighbors – - the workers who once had steady jobs and find themselves suddenly out of work, or the single mothers who are scrambling to earn enough to put food on the table for their children,” explains NTFB President and CEO Jan Pruitt. “Whether a one-time donation or starting a virtual food drive through our Web site, everyone can help make a difference. Even just $1 feeds four hungry North Texans.”
Pruitt applauds both individual donations and corporate support for helping the NTFB to purchase and supply more food to the growing number of children, families and seniors who need food assistance, but points out that the usual lull in summer giving could impact services going forward.
“Hunger does not take a summer vacation,” explains Pruitt, “While we typically receive 47 percent of 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.”
The summer campaign, developed by Dallas-based branding and creative agency RSW Creative, is part of NTFB’s new three-year Close the Gap initiative to unite the community in narrowing the food gap. Campaign billboards will run in high-profile locations such as the North Dallas Tollway at LBJ Freeway and Trinity Mills. PSAs will also run online and on local radio stations. Supporters can learn more about the campaign, make tax-deductible donations or find out about volunteer opportunities 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.