Across the Metroplex, families are preparing to celebrate the holiday season. The centerpiece of these celebrations: food. But, for more than 540,000 North Texans, the pickings are pretty slim.
One in every six people in Tarrant County and 12 surrounding counties face hunger, according to the latest data from Feeding America. And one out of every four children live with uncertainty about their next meal. These statistics are the driving force behind the work of Tarrant Area Food Bank (TAFB), a nonprofit fighting hunger in North Texas.
By partnering with 270 nonprofits and the local community, TAFB is able to fill the plates of hungry people across North Texas. This work results in about 500,000 nutritious meals provided to children, families and seniors each week. But while the organization is making great strides, more support is needed to make a bigger dent in the fight against hunger.
When compared to other states, Texas has the second highest number of hungry children. In addition, Tarrant County is one of the top 10 counties in the U.S. with the highest number of hungry people overall. Many of these people regularly choose between paying for food and paying for medical care, utilities and transportation. With the holidays right around the corner, these choices may become more difficult.
Nationwide, about 13 percent of Americans don’t get enough food to eat. That’s 42 million people. In September 2017, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service released a study on food insecurity in the United States. The study covered 41,186 households and asked families a series of questions to assess how hunger affected their daily lives.
About 16 percent of families worried food would run out before there was money to buy more. Thirteen percent shared that they relied on low-cost food to feed their children. And close to 13 percent of those surveyed said they couldn’t afford to eat balanced meals.
This holiday season, you can help fill the plates of hungry North Texans by donating to Tarrant Area Food Bank. A $10 donation can provide access to 50 meals. To give, visit the TAFB website.
As a food bank, TAFB is able to make each dollar go further than it could on an average trip to the grocery store. In fact, every dollar donated helps Tarrant Area Food Bank provide access to five nutritious meals.
While nonperishable food items are a staple for food drives put on by community members, the fresh items must be purchased by TAFB or donated by food industry partners.
Over the years, Tarrant Area Food Bank has made a significant shift in the type of food provided to hungry people. Instead of mainly canned goods, families can choose from a wide variety of fresh food to fill their fridges and freezers. Fruits and vegetables make up more than a third of the food TAFB distributes. In addition, the organization provides access to whole grains, dairy products, meats and more.
Thank you for filling empty plates, and warming hearts, this holiday season.