We had a great opportunity to tour the Tarrant Area Food Bank last week. I love being able to talk to my kids about issues such as hunger in the needy and expose them to these real life problems so that they gain an appreciation for the blessings in their lives and develop compassion for others who are going through difficult times.
Before we left the house, Nicholas gathered up a bag of food to donate to the food bank. He didn't even realize that he can meet a Cub Scout elective for helping the needy by doing this. He just wanted to do his part to help out.
Tarrant Area Food Bank is the distribution hub of a 13-county network of hunger-relief charities and social services centers. They receive fresh, frozen and nonperishable food donated by the food industry and the community. We visited their 69,000 square-foot warehouse in Fort Worth where they distribute food to 300 partner agencies that serve abuse victims, children, the elderly, the chronically ill, the unemployed, the working poor, the homeless and other Texans in need.
The primary mission of the TAFB is to distribe food to a network of hunger-relief charities that provide emergency groceries, meals and snacks to Texans in need. They provide pre-packaged foods as well as fresh produce. But they also have a working professional kitchen where they prepare meals that are then frozen before distribution to the needy.
The Tarrant Area Food Bank really does some amazing work.
To provide nourishment on weekends for children at high risk of hunger, Tarrant Area Food Bank collaborates with elementary and middle schools to offer its BackPacks for Kids program. This program is placed at schools where 80% or more of the students are eligible for free and reduced-cost meals.
The schools identify the economically disadvantaged students, and Tarrant Area Food Bank provides the backpacks and the food that children can easily access without the help of adults. At the end of the school week, children take home food for themselves and their school-aged siblings.
There are rooms and rooms of shelves full of food. Nicholas loved watching the fork lifts at work. Rachel was a little scared, especially when they made their loud beeping sound when going in reverse.
There were boxes and boxes of food everywhere and trucks bringing more food in. However, there were also big trucks pulling in to take loads of food away to get it to the people who really need it.
The Tarrant Area Food Bank, and other local food banks that may be closer to your home, can always use your help. Here are some ways that you can do your part:
1. Donate non-perishable food items such as dry cereals, pasta, crackers, canned goods, pasta sauce, rice, dried beans, as well as kitchen staples such as flour, sugar, and salt. Some food banks also accept donations of non-food items such as paper towels, paper plates, as well as personal items like toilet paper and diapers to distribute to the needy.
2. Organize a community food drive and promote awareness of the need for food to others in your neighborhood.
3. Volunteer your time to help out on-site.
4. Monetary donations are always appreciated.
I'm very glad that we were had the chance to visit the Tarrant Area Food Bank. It was a good learning experience and a needed reminder that we can all do a little more to help others who are struggling with tough times. For as the saying goes, "There but for the grace of God go I".
The Tarrant Area Food Bank is located at 2600 Cullen Street in Fort Worth. For more information about how you can help or receive services, please call them at 817-332-9177 or visit the Tarrant Area Food Bank website.