By Nicholas Sakelaris | CoServ
Tom Newell directs two lanes of traffic through the food distribution line at Denton Community Food Center.
Vehicles wait 45 minutes to an hour for a trunk load of groceries – a visible reminder of the pervasive hunger problem that exists in North Texas. Denton Community Food Center provides more than 300 meals a week with two distribution days per week.
“It looks like a lot of food if you look at it,” said Tom as he walked through the racks stacked high with pallets of food. “But if you figure the volume we’re putting out, there’s maybe about eight days of food in here if we stopped bringing it in.”
Stopping isn’t an option for any of the pantries or organizations that fight against food insecurity because thousands of North Texans are counting on them.
“We’re running on pure back-to-the-community donations this year,” Tom said.
That includes a grant contribution from the CoServ Charitable Foundation that helped purchase much-needed food.
“Food and shelter, you kind of have to have those two things or everything else is for naught,” Tom said. “It’s hard to get yourself up and going if you’re hungry.”
The teachers at Prairie View Elementary School in Rhome noticed a dramatic drop in behavior issues and disciplinary problems for the 2020-2021 school year.
“The only thing we knew we were doing differently was that we were giving snacks and bottled water every day,” said Principal Yolanda Wallace.
Every morning students flock to Sarah Curran’s Communities in School classroom where they eat rice crisps, granola bars, fruit snacks, cereal or other snacks while they hang out and socialize.
That simple change, courtesy of Community Storehouse’s Snack Pack program, made a dramatic difference at Prairie View.
“For some kids, it’s comfort. For a lot of kids, it’s a necessity,” Yolanda said. “Their brains can’t grow and their bodies can’t grow without food.”
The CoServ Charitable Foundation distributed a grant to Community Storehouse in 2020 that allows them to continue providing snacks for Northwest ISD schools.
In the first three weeks of the school year, Community Storehouse delivered more than 10,000 snacks to schools in Northwest and Keller ISDs.
Frisco Family Services provided more than half a million meals in 2020 and is on pace to do the same this year. They have seen more first-time clients during the pandemic than at any time in the organization’s history.
“Early on, a lot of folks, particularly our service industry workers, retail, hotels and restaurant workers, found themselves suddenly unemployed,” said Nicole Bursey, Executive Director of Frisco Family Services. “Now we’re starting to see corporations and companies reorganizing so that’s leaving more without a job.”
Frisco Family Services received a grant from CCF that helped people with utility, rent and mortgage payments, which gives people shelter and lets them focus on food needs.
“The support that you all have provided has really been incredible,” Nicole said. “It’s given us flexibility in terms of how we can utilize the funds to keep families in their homes, whether it’s to help pay for their utilities or other urgent or critical need. Lots of grant providers were wanting to provide funding but CoServ’s support was instant – it’s like you were already prepared to do it.”
CoServ Electric Members and Gas Customers who round their bills up to the nearest dollar are doing their part to fight food insecurity in North Texas. The pennies from each month’s bill – which add up to about $6 a year, per account – go to fund CoServ Charitable Foundation grants throughout the CoServ service territory.
Thank you to our Members and Customers for their generosity so we can support these nonprofits on the front lines of hunger.
These organizations need volunteers!
Frisco Family Services
Denton Community Food Center