New TAFB President Committed to Helping Our Community

Catherine K. Carlton, the new president of Tarrant Area Food Bank’s board of directors, has long been interested in fighting hunger in Texas.

Before she ever became involved with TAFB, Carlton founded and implemented an anti-hunger program called Food First as part of her community outreach working full-time at a Texas electric company. Food First eventually provided more than 1.3 million meals in Texas and launched a successful summer backpack program that provided nutritious meals for children to take home on weekends.

“When I started the Food First initiative, I wanted to get involved in my local food bank and try to have an impact in my community,” Carlton said. “I am touched by the fact that 25 percent of Texas children don’t know where their next meal is coming from.”

Carlton, a member of the TAFB board since 2011, is the director of communications at MHMR of Tarrant County, which provides services for people with mentally ill and intellectual or developmental disabilities. In that role, she comes into contact with many of the same people the food bank serves.

“Being part of the TAFB board has helped me be more connected and informed about the cause,” Carlton said. “The food bank and MHMR both help those most vulnerable in the community – those who need a meal and those who have unique health care needs. I think we are often helping the same people.”

Carlton notes that 68 percent of TAFB clients report having to choose between paying for housing and medicine or buying food. Tough times create difficult decisions, with one in six North Texans being hungry.

“We’ve learned that when the economy is up, donations go down,” Carlton said. “But there is still a need. There are always people in our community who need a little extra help with their meals, or access to meals.”

TAFB, along with 270 partner agencies serving a 13-county region, helps by providing more than 500,000 nutritious meals each week.

“People can’t be healthy without food,” Carlton said. “The work of the TAFB is so vital for the good of our community, and I’m honored to play a part in our mission.”

Carlton lives in Arlington with her husband, Jeff, and three children, ages 7, 5 and 2. She recently was appointed by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission Committee advising state officials implementing a new Medicaid program for children with disabilities. She also volunteers with the Red Cross and Camp Summit. She loves cheese fries, volleyball and travel.

Help keep Tarrant Area Food Bank great! Donate now. Every dollar equals five meals for those in need.

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