DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – As the massive warehouse fill with music and volunteers, food bank staffers get a sorting party started. For 30 hours, volunteers, elected officials– and even a TV actor– will get busy filling food boxes for needy families. It’s all part of the effort to celebrate the North Texas Food Bank’s 30 years of service.
Julie Espinosa is one of the volunteers, and that makes her proud, because she can recall when one of those “needy families” was hers. “Even when you have jobs, it’s not enough sometimes,” says the Dallas mother of two. “We did without sometimes. My husband’s job was seasonal. During the wintertime, it got very hard. He didn’t like that I had to go to a food pantry; but, we didn’t really have an option.”
Food bank officials say Espinosa’s story is far more common than many realize. “You may not be hungry; but, I can guarantee you someone you know, is struggling,” says Jan Pruitt, NTFB President and CEO.
According to Pruitt, one in six North Texas families is considered ‘food insecure’… one child of every four can’t be certain of that next meal. This is in spite of the one million pounds of food that the Food Bank will distribute in just one week. Agency officials say that’s still not keeping up with the demand– it’s not even half of what’s needed. “You know somebody,” insists Pruitt, “you just don’t know they’re hungry.”
The North Texas Food Bank distributes food items– including fresh fruits and vegetables– to some 300 area pantries and member agencies. Still, agency officials say that hunger is often a quiet crisis.
But, during September, they want to make some noise about hunger and call attention to the issue—by going ‘Orange’. North Texas businesses and supporters are getting on board—from the fountain at Dallas City Hall, to Mesquite, to the lights of the Omni Dallas Hotel and One Arts Plaza, to giant bows on the giraffe statue at the Dallas Zoo.
Jesse Metcalfe, one of the stars of TNT’s hugely popular remake of the ‘Dallas’ TV Series was also on hand to help out.
“There are people outside your front door and in your community that are going hungry every single day,” says Metcalfe. “It’s shocking and it’s appalling, really.”
Metcalfe says since he will spend six months of the year in North Texas, filming the TV series, he was looking for a way to get involved in the community and found the North Texas Food Bank a perfect fit.
But, officials stress: you don’t have to be a movie star to make a difference.
“All it takes is all of us doing something,” says Pruitt. “A one dollar donation in our hands buys three meals.”