Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Texas National Guard helping the North Texas Food Bank feed those in need locally

Members of the Texas National Guard deployed to help the North Texas Food Bank in Plano, loads food into the vehicle of a client while maintaining limited social distancing. (Image courtesy of NTFB)

Heroes on the Front Lines to Fight Hunger

Members of the Texas National Guard arrived in Plano last weekend with a simple mission: feeding the community’s most needy people across the 13 counties that the North Texas Food Bank serves. The humanitarian effort will provide a helping hand to the Food Bank as they work to increase their distribution efforts to meet the growing need in our region. The Guard’s highest calling is serving their fellow citizens. These men and women are volunteer guardsmen who sacrifice spending time away from their families to instead be there for local communities in need.

The City of Plano and the team at the North Texas Food Bank would like to extend sincere gratitude to Governor Greg Abbott for allowing the guard to assist in this important mission. One of the side effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is an increased need at the North Texas Food Bank and their Feeding Network of Partner Agencies. Their support will ensure that the Food Bank can continue to safely meet its mission of closing the hunger gap in North Texas by providing access to nutritious food.

“The Food Bank and their member agencies play a critical role in North Texas,” said Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere. “The support from the National Guard will allow for them to continue to meet their mission. We know that as the weeks go on, the need for support will only continue to grow.”

Now, more than 250 members of the Texas National Guard will be mobilized in support of the North Texas Food Bank.

Guard members will be on-site initially for 30 days and will be applied in four areas:

  • Production line: Approximately 140 will be immediately put to work on the production floors, creating family meal boxes for distribution.
  • Mobile Pantry distribution: Approximately 30 will be deployed to expand the growing Mobile Pantry Distributions
  • Warehouse and Supply Chain: Approximately 30 guard members will be trained on our warehouse operations and 12 will be allocated as drivers.
  • Partner agency support: Approximately 50 will be available to assist our partner agencies who are also in need of support.

“The team at the Food Bank is thankful to all of our public leaders who helped to bring in these additional resources,” said Trisha Cunningham, President, and CEO of the North Texas Food Bank. “Our goal is to serve as many people as possible, as safely as possible. Support from the National Guard will allow us to have the manpower to make thousands of food boxes each week, making these available to our partners and via our mobile pantry program.”

The Food Bank’s mobile pantry efforts have seen an increased demand in recent weeks due to the pandemic, normal distributions served an average of 300 households. Distributions recently have surged from 1,000 to almost 2,000 households served.

“Our Texas Guardsmen live, work and train in communities across Texas,” said Maj. Gen. Tracy Norris, the Adjutant General of Texas. “These Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen are your neighbors and they are deeply invested in keeping our friends and fellow Texans safe.”

The support the Texas National Guard is providing will also provide some needed relief for other local nonprofits. The Food Bank will work to transition the Get Shift Done workers that were serving at their warehouse locations to other local nonprofits who are also looking to meet the increased demand.

“This pandemic has brought uncertainty to our region, but it has also brought together a caring community. We will face this together and come out stronger on the other side. To each person that has donated food or funds, has worked in our warehouse or advocated for our mission, I thank you. We truly could not do this without you,” said Cunningham.

Part of the responsiblities of the Texas National Guard deployed to help the North Texas Food Bank is to help sort fresh fruits and vegetables and prepare boxes for mobile food pantries. (Image courtesy of NTFB).

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