CHARITABLE PRODUCE CENTER Founded in 1994, the Charitable Produce Center was designed to transform the large amount of waste in the fresh produce market into a source of nourishment for hungry North Texans. The Food Bank extended this concept in 1999 with a grant from Kraft Foods, Inc., by developing the Rural Produce Initiative to give fresh produce to Agencies outside of Dallas County each week. In fiscal year 2005, the program provided more than 3.8 million pounds of produce to North Texas counties.
COMMODITIES SUPPLEMENTAL FOOD PROGRAM In 2000, the North Texas Food Bank became the first Commodities Supplemental Food Program (also known locally as People and Nutrition or PAN) distributor in Texas. This program provides surplus USDA commodities for Dallas County residents who meet certain requirements such as being 60 years old or older, a child under six not receiving aid from WIC (Women, Infants and Children Program) or a pregnant or postpartum woman not receiving assistance from WIC. Each month, 7,750 eligible participants receive an estimated 25 pounds of surplus USDA commodities at 108 PAN distribution sites in Dallas County. PAN is a partnership of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Texas Department of Human Services, Catholic Charities of Dallas and the North Texas Food Bank.
COMMUNITY KITCHEN The Community Kitchen began as a North Texas Food Bank pilot program in early 2000. The mission of the Kitchen is to offer Food Bank Member Agencies nutritious, fully prepared frozen meals to heat and serve to the hungry while providing culinary job skills training to disadvantaged individuals with an interest in a food service career. Construction of a new 3,000 square foot kitchen at the Food Bank was completed in February 2002. The Kitchen produces an average of 8,000 meals weekly in a variety of formats which are then distributed to 60 Member Agencies including 10 shelters, 22 Kids Cafes and 30 food pantries. Up to 30 students, primarily from the Texas Second Chance program in partnership with Dawson State Prison, receive food service training each year while helping to prepare meals.
FOOD FOR FAMILIES Food For Families is a cooperative effort between the North Texas Food Bank and more than 30 Member Agencies. Clients of the participating Agencies are pre-qualified and are issued a voucher for specific food distribution. Clients meet Agency volunteers at a specific parking lot at a certain time. A drive-through line is organized and Agency volunteers give food directly to clients from Food Bank trucks. In fiscal year 2005, more than 1.5 million pounds of food were distributed to 14,872 families and more than 53,000 individuals.
FOOD 4 KIDS Elementary school children on the free and reduced-price school meal program often face hunger when these meals are not available on weekends. The Food 4 Kids program provides backpacks full of nonperishable kid-friendly food to take home on Friday afternoons. These backpacks are for children most at risk of weekend hunger. The program has been very successful in the five elementary schools that have participated so far. Approximately 250 children in the Dallas area receive a backpack full of food each weekend during the school year.
HUNGER LINK PREPARED FOODS The Dallas Hunger Link collects surplus prepared perishable food from 50 donor hotels, restaurants, cafeterias and other food service kitchens. That food is then frozen in disposable aluminum steam table pans provided by the Food Bank. Specially trained Hunger Link drivers then pick up the food in refrigerated Hunger Link trucks and distribute it to onsite meal programs throughout Dallas. In 2005, the Hunger Link program collected more than 744,000 pounds of food and delivered it to 22 Member Agencies.