By Becky Volk
Social Media Specialist, Tarrant Area Food Bank
As the end of another school year nears, staff and volunteers at WestAid, a nonprofit food pantry in West Fort Worth, brace themselves for a busy summer. They’re no strangers to the struggle of keeping pantry shelves stocked with food to meet the ongoing need for kids, their parents and seniors. Sarah Lewis, director of operations at WestAid, shared that the summer months are especially hard for families of school children.
The Difference Food Makes
For many hungry children, school is where they are able to participate in breakfast programs, snack programs, and free and reduced-price lunch programs. Consequently, when school lets out, those children don’t always have enough food to eat. Many also end up home alone while their parents are at work, which can make preparing a meal a challenge.
As summer approaches, Sarah’s team works to fill the pantry with foods children can easily prepare on their own. What she enjoys most about her job is seeing clients leave with food. To her, it’s all about “seeing the difference that a bottle of water or a piece of food can make for somebody.”
A Fresh Take on Hunger
Tarrant Area Food Bank donates fresh produce grown and harvested straight from the TAFB Learning Garden to WestAid. Anywhere from 20-30 pounds of fruits and vegetables are brought to the pantry each week and given to clients. Children especially love the vegetables. Sarah and her staff hand out tiny tomatoes to them while they wait. “I will gladly pass out vegetables (to the children) all day long instead of candy.”
WestAid also regularly refers clients to Cooking Matters, a program of Share Our Strength managed by TAFB staff. Through the program, volunteer nutrition and culinary instructors teach people how to make healthy meals on a budget.
Tools to Beat Summer Hunger
Tarrant Area Food Bank has a list of nearly 300 locations across 13 counties where food assistance is available. Anyone who needs food, or knows someone who does, is urged to visit a pantry or a mobile feeding location.
Make a donation to TAFB to beat summer hunger at tafb.org/donate.
Start a virtual food drive and let’s beat summer hunger together.
Thank You Partners
Tarrant Area Food Bank values relationships with its Partner Agencies beyond measure. We recognize the need for food assistance and all of the challenges that present themselves to hungry children, families and seniors. That’s why partnering with neighborhood food pantries is vital year-round, especially during the summer when children are out of school.
As Sarah said, “food makes people happy,” so let’s all do our part to make sure no one has to go hungry this summer.