Monday, April 8, 2013
North Texas Food Bank may be short on funds, but also full of hope
Here's a sneak peek into the organization's day-to-day.
DALLAS The North Texas Food Bank is situated in a nondescript neighborhood in South Dallas surrounded by industrial warehouses. The impact people here make on a daily basis is much more telling — the Food Bank provides about 130,000 meals a day to residents in 13 nearby counties.
Incredibly, that is less than half the number of meals needed per day to feed disabled, ill, underemployed, and underprivileged North Texans.
“We’re about $1 million short” of donations, said Adrienne Scruggs, communications and public affairs specialist at the facility, on a recent visit. We maneuvered through sky-high rows of supplies, from produce to diapers, and passed by several walk-in freezers as Scruggs explained the reality of the situation.
In the short term, she said, the North Texas Food Bank is focusing on quality — healthier, smarter and stronger produce to promote good eating habits. (Local community gardens often donate a portion of their crops to the Food Bank each harvest.) The more evident long-term goal would to raise capital and provide the necessary 300,000 meals to residents every day.
During my trip, I had the pleasure of working beside sixth-grade students from St. Mark’s School of Texas, who were all adamant about achieving both those goals. We bagged snacks for the organization’s Food 4 Kids program, which benefits elementary school children who receive subsidized school meals during the week, but often do not have extra food on the weekends.
The intended demographic was fuel to the fire, and the sixth graders wasted no time trucking down the assembly line. Not one complaint was heard during the two hours we worked; instead, the boys smiled, graciously helped one another as well as their teachers, and unwaveringly displayed the labor of love.
“It makes me feel really good. I can’t imagine not having an after-school snack,” said 11-year-old Ayush Sana, who built boxes to store the goodie bags. “I eat a lot.”
This was 12-year-old Joe Lofgoin’s fourth time helping out at the North Texas Food Bank. Joe comes to help because every time he eats food, he thinks of all the other people who probably want to eat also. First timer Mujin Kwun, 12, enjoyed volunteering because he was with all of his friends, though the thought of other children going hungry made him sad.
“I finally understand how good we have it,” Kwun said.
The boys’ optimism drove fast-paced productivity and we bagged more than 10,000 pounds of food for nearly 3,000 children.
Buddhist teachings suggest that happiness is most easily achievable when doing work for the sake of accomplishing a task, instead of glorifying the end result. At the North Texas Food Bank, that the wisdom is put into action. Luckily, the end result is just as satisfying as the work itself.