The North Texas Food Bank held its first Black History Month celebration on Saturday to recognize Black community leaders who give back year-round.
A rendition of Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic "I Have a Dream" speech inspired people inside the NTFB Perot Family Campus in Plano.
Black community leaders were honored as part of an awards ceremony, which was the brainchild of Danyel Surrency Jones, president of the board of the nonprofit Power To Give Foundation -- an arm of Powerhandz, of which Jones is a co-founder. Powerhandz is a Dallas-based company that sells athletic training products.
“It’s important for us to learn how to serve the southern sector better, and the disparities that exist within the brown and black communities,” Jones said.
Among the honorees was Dallas businessman Mitchell Ward, who helped organize massive food drives to feed thousands of people.
“That was a great honor to be on the stage with them because they do such a great job in the community too,” said Ward, chairman and CEO of MW Logistics.
Volunteer Chandra Douglas and her husband Anthony helped fill bags of food after the ceremony.
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“We have four children of our own, so we definitely understand the need. And just to be able to serve, we love to serve. That’s why we’re here,” Douglas said.
The winter storm tightened the pandemic’s strain on the North Texas Food Bank.
President and CEO of the food bank Trisha Cunningham said the need for food has surged in the last few weeks.
“We’ve done double and triple distributions ourselves. We’ve been trying to get more food out to our partners because we know they need it right now,” Cunningham said.
NTFB said it upped the number of mobile pantries after the winter storm and meals packed Saturday will help fill that need.
The hope is to make the awards ceremony held Saturday an annual event.
The full list of the honorees include:
- Randy and Leal Melville, founders of the Melville Foundation
- Pastor Tommy Brown, New Mount Zion Church and leader of the Ministerial Alliance
- Mitchell Ward, CEO of MW Logistics and MW Cares
- Dr. Cheryl Jackson, founder of Minnie's Food Pantry