November 2020 State of the Food Bank

On Tuesday, November 17, 2020, Tarrant Area Food Bank (TAFB) President & CEO Julie Butner presented a State of the Food Bank address to the City of Fort Worth. In her brief talk, she touched on the critical mission of TAFB, our COVID-19 response, and how we’re looking to the future to solve hunger-related issues. You can view the presentation in its entirety above, but here are the most notable changes since Butner became CEO in January and how she plans to keep up her momentum of change.

Achievements in Fiscal Year 2020 (Oct 2019-Sept 2020)

  • 350 Partner Agencies distributed Tarrant Area Food Bank food
  • 60 million pounds total of food distributed–doubled from FY19’s 30 million pounds.
  • Over 1,000,000 meals distributed per week–up from 600,000 meals in FY19.

Sources of Food

  • Because of COVID-19, TAFB receives produce and other food from farmers who cannot export it
  • Less than 1% of our food is purchased, and that number primarily consists of ready-to-eat food for seniors, children, and homeless individuals who don’t have the resources to prepare meals.
  • We are not struggling to bring food in; in fact, we are at max capacity and are opening a second warehouse in Parker County to bring in more.

Feeding the Line

  • For the first time ever this year, TAFB is distributing food at Mobile Markets straight from the Distribution Center rather than distributing food through Partner Agencies.
  • On November 20, TAFB hosts its first Mega Mobile Market at AT&T Stadium to distribute Thanksgiving meals, and we anticipate 5,000 families.
  • We also have programs for food delivery, in-school pantries, and are developing pantries in healthcare buildings.

How We Shorten the Line

  • Feeding people is what we do, but we also are interested in helping people get back on their feet so that they don’t need to be in line at the food pantry.
  • We are relaunching a culinary training program for skills training
  • We have two community gardens and are constantly seeking partners to create community gardens
  • Creating kid-friendly food boxes is also a priority

COVID-19 Response

  • The rise in need has fluctuated from 80%, our highest increase, to level out at about 40% after government aid and the progression of time.
  • Social distancing and shelter in place restrictions forced us to refuse volunteers in our Volunteer Center and replace with unbudgeted temporary contract workers
  • Feeding America estimates that our rise in turnout to distribution events will continue for 24 months, and we may never return to pre-COVID distribution amounts

Areas of Need

  • We are underserving multiple zip codes in Fort Worth and are seeking more partnerships with brick-and-mortar pantries to fill those gaps
  • We’re interested in piloting a Wellness on Wheels truck, which would be a truck that brings food, education, and benefits enrollment information directly to neighborhoods.

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