To help combat food insecurity, Dallas College campuses teamed up with the North Texas Food Bank to set up food distribution sites.
Jennifer Allen, Brookhaven Campus professor and Mobile Food Pantry coordinator, has been an integral part in running the events at Dallas College’s Brookhaven campus. “The first few mobile food pantry events have been very busy,” she said.
According to Feeding Texas, 8.9 million Texans fall into the category of food insecure, double the amount prior to the pandemic.
A recent panel discussion done by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine showed the levels of food insecurity in Texas rose during the pandemic, erasing nearly two decades of food security gains in some parts of the state.
According to the Dallas College website, anyone looking to pick up food must be in a vehicle, have a form of identification, indicate family size, and meet income requirements to pick up food. No proof is necessary to show income because the process is one of self declaration.
During the first hour of the food pantry, families can take only one of each item to ensure food does not run out.
Allen said families who have used the program have been grateful. “The area where Brookhaven is located is a food desert, insofar as the opportunities for food assistance, so our Dallas College opportunities are incredibly important,” she said.
Many of the events have been supported by the Brookhaven community. “We were able to staff the events with Brookhaven faculty, staff, students and administrators this summer and have continued to be fully staffed,” Allen said.
Liliana Menjivar, Brookhaven SGA vice president, has volunteered at several of the events since the beginning of the pandemic. Menjivar said as a member of the community she wanted to make sure she did her part in giving back.
“It is a real eye opener,” she said. “I come from a stable family, and I never went once without food on the table. The hardship that these families go through really breaks my heart.”
Menjivar encourages students to get involved in helping out the program if they have time. “We as college students need to start thinking of the needs of others and really evaluate what we can do to help those around us,” she said.
According to Allen, those who are looking to volunteer at upcoming events can visit the North Texas Food Bank website for more information. Allen said, “They have a month of listings at a time and there are options all over the Metroplex to volunteer.”
To find food distribution sites visit the Dallas College website.