Before the COVID-19 outbreak, rates of food insecurity among students at two-year institutions ranged from 42-56%, according to a survey conducted by The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice, a higher education research organization. The survey included 2019 responses from the Dallas County Community College District.
Normally, a student, staff or faculty member could stop by The Cave, Brookhaven College’s food pantry, or wait for the North Texas Food Bank’s campus deliveries to get groceries. But with schools closed due to COVID-19, these options are not available.
Jennifer Allen, the coordinator for The Cave, said the food pantry is closed as instructed by district, county and state guidelines.
However, the North Texas Food Bank is still open, Liana Solis, a communication specialist at NTFB, said. Solis said this gives students, staff and faculty members an opportunity to access essential food items. People who need food assistance can go to their nearest NTFB locations or visit a nearby Mobile Pantry Distribution, Solis said.
The NTFB has several distributions scheduled for the next few weeks. The distribution schedule can be found on the food bank’s website.
With schools remaining closed, more people who have never needed food assistance before find themselves needing it in order to provide for themselves or their families, Solis said.
The NTFB had to get creative with the way they distribute and receive food, Solis said. Adjustments are in place to ensure the safety of their food items. One of the changes includes making the Mobile Pantry Distribution a no-touch model, Solis said. Staff and volunteers place the food directly in the back of someone’s car in order to prevent the possible spread of germs.
While the food bank remains open, they continue to seek help from the public. Solis said anyone who can make a monetary or food donation to the NTFB should do so now. “Our goal is to continue to provide for hungry neighbors, including students who need our help,” she said. Donations can be made at NTFB’s website.
The Brookhaven CARE Team is also offering assistance for students in need of food during this pandemic. Beverly Neu Menassa, the team’s chair, said the CARE Team works to connect students to the services. Menassa said they are referring students to their partner, Metrocrest Services’ Food Pantry. Metrocrest’s food pantry hours are Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturday 9:00 a.m.-1 p.m. The nearest Metrocrest food pantry is at 13801 Hutton Dr., Suite #150.