THE COLONY (CBS11) – Prosperity is proving to be a double-edged sword in parts of North Texas where some high-growth areas are also seeing more people in need.
For now the racks are full, and more importantly, the walk-in refrigerator is packed with food at the NTX Community Food Pantry, but its director worries how much longer she can operate here.
When you think of The Colony, you may think of the growing Grandscape development surrounding the massive Nebraska Furniture Mart. Nearby in Frisco ,construction along the so-called Five Billion Dollar Mile is booming.
That’s why Gina Harrison says potential donors are sometimes surprised to learn that poverty also exists here.
“They just mention that this pocket of area is booming so much that they didn’t really expect that there would be the need,” Harrison said.
Harrison took over the NTX Community Food Pantry a few months ago when the organization that had been running it decided to focus on other charitable efforts. Keeping it open hasn’t been easy. In order to renew the lease for another year, she says she still needs to raise about half of the $50,000 for overhead. Part of the challenge is reminding the public that while many are profiting from the region’s growth, some aren’t so fortunate.
“We have guests here that come in that are renters in this area, and rent’s gone up,” Harrison said.
While her own rent has also gone up, she says her landlord is working with her to try to save the pantry. She’s also grateful that new businesses in the area like restaurants and large corporations with their own dining halls have become generous food donors.
“It’s called the Harvest Program, and we go out and rescue this food, so that we can give it out to our guests. We can be kind of a wasteful society. Otherwise all that food would go in the trash,” Harrison said.
Harrison has already looked for a backup plan if she can’t raise the money in time, but she says her alternate location is half the size and doesn’t have the refrigeration unit to store perishable items critical for offering healthy options. Harrison says when some of those served by the pantry learned about its financial problems, they offered the only thing they could.
“It warms your heart that they want to pray for us. They’re here for help, but they want to pray for us, so that we can stay here, and keep this pantry in this location,” Harrison said.
If you’d like to help, you can find information on how to donate here.