The North Texas Food Bank kicks off its Thanksgiving distribution events Friday, first with Dallas-area churches before a drive-thru event for the public on Saturday.
About 100 Dallas-area churches will pick up boxes at the NTFB campus in Plano to distribute the food independently before the Thanksgiving holiday. Approximately 7,000 meals will be distributed in their communities.
The public event for another 1,500 families will happen Saturday morning at the UNT Dallas Campus in South Dallas on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon.
NTFB President and CEO Trisha Cunningham said the continued challenges of the ongoing pandemic means families will see a difference in this year's holiday meal.
"There are some food shortages this year. Food prices have gone up but this year. We're going to be able to provide a whole frozen chicken instead of a turkey but we're going to get 17 pounds of fresh produce and 25 pounds of seasonably appropriate shelf-stable pantry items they can use for their holiday meals," Cunningham said.
The NTFB has 200+ agency partners, and many of the food pantries will have a limited supply of turkeys, either supplied by the NTFB or purchased by the individual food pantries. So, the community can get access to turkeys. They can go to NTFB.org and find a food pantry that is nearby and call to see if they have turkeys available.
Cunningham said last year, NTFB distributed more food than ever before -- 125 million meals. And demand is still much higher than before the pandemic.
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"Even though people have gone back to work and we're starting to see things on the good side, they really depleted their resources. So, they're really still having to watch on the budget items," Cunningham said.
"The need is still so great when you look at the food insecurities that exist right here in the Metroplex. People would be surprised by the need that still exists," said Tommy Brown, pastor of New Mount Zion Baptist Church and president of the Dallas Baptist Ministers Union.
The Baptist Ministers Union, the MWCares Foundation, The Big Good, and UNT Dallas are all partners with the NTFB in the Saturday Thanksgiving distribution, which is called The Big Give.
“It is amazing to see what a community can do when we come together to make a difference,” said Mitchell Ward, CEO of MW Logistics and Founder of The MWCares Foundation, the philanthropic arm of his company. “Last year our team contributed the logistics expertise and relationships with corporations to brighten the holiday for thousands of families across our region. We are excited to bring the tradition back this year."
“Our team looks forward to the holiday season knowing that we will be making a difference in the community,” said Gary Patterson, Founding Partner of The Big Good. “It has been amazing to see this effort grow and I am thankful to get to work with Mitchell Ward and all of the partners that make this event a success. Seeing the smiles of those who receive this nourishing food is the ultimate blessing. On behalf of The Big Good, I want to thank our caring community for helping us spread joy during the holiday season.”