In the season of giving, one of the largest non-profit organizations in the Dallas area is also in the midst of a season of change. The new CEO of the North Texas Food Bank is approaching her six-month mark after longtime leader Jan Pruitt stepped down before losing her battle with cancer.
Trisha Cunningham left a job at Texas Instruments to continue Pruitt's mission of expanding the facilities with a new Collin County location, expanding partner services and increasing the number of people the North Texas Food Bank can serve.
"I think now what we need to do is take that plan, and we could make her no more proud than to build upon that so that we can truly try to help end hunger in our community," Cunningham said.
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Chief Philanthropy Officer Colleen Brinkmann worked under Pruitt and now Cunningham. After 16 years with the food bank, she says the efforts to grow are a move in the right direction.
"We're much more sophisticated to how we're tackling the issue of hunger," Brinkmann said.
She's watched the food bank grow from serving 26 million meals a year to 70 million. Brinkmann says they're on track to hit a goal set by Pruitt to serve 92 million by 2025.
All are confident it can be accomplished despite a slower than normal holiday giving season thanks in part to Hurricane Harvey. The food bank is also challenged by an ever growing population of people who go hungry, but they say that growth is what continues to fuel leaders and volunteers alike.
The make donations easier than ever, the North Texas Food Bank rolled out a text-to-donate feature. Just text 'Meals' to 80077 to receive a link to give.
While the food bank accepts donations of non-perishable food items, staff reminds donors that money helps them provide even more meals. Just $1 can provide three meals. Through the end of the year, donations will be matched, so that a $1 donation can provide up to six meals.