As North Texas Food Pantries Are Stretched, FEMA Steps in to Help

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The community continues to step up, but the need is still great. Some North Texas food pantries have seen a more than 250% increase in demand. It’s why some good news Wednesday from FEMA arrived at just the right time.

There’s always been a need for the North Texas Food Bank. Now, more than a month into COVID-19, President and CEO Trisha Cunningham says it’s as busy as it’s been in a very long time.

“Overall before the pandemic hit there would about 800,000 people that were food insecure,” said Cunningham. “The need is great. And I have a feeling we haven’t even seen the peak of demand yet.”

Just as fast as food is coming in, it’s being allocated, packed up and placed on the back of trucks to be distributed into the community. Tried and true pantry nonperishables are coveted items.

“It’s actually been very difficult to go and purchase that kind of product right now just because the grocery store shelves are empty,” said Cunningham.

It’s why an email from FEMA couldn’t’ have come at a better time. A request was granted, and some 44 million pounds of food will be trucked into Texas for food banks across the state.

Cunningham said the North Texas Food Bank and Tarrant Area Food Bank expects a combined nine million pounds of food. It’s a critical supply for an expected influx of families.

“We know many families are working through their reserves right now,” said Cunningham. “And they’re going to wait until the point where they feel like they actually have to go to the food bank because there’s no other way for them to be able to put food on their tables.”

Some 250 food pantries across 13 counties are part of the North Texas Food Bank network. With that in mind, Cunningham said this supplementary supply is expected to last roughly 30 days.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said the food is expected to be trucked into North Texas within a matter of days.

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