The Dallas Morning News
Dallas Morning News Charities to launch summer feeding campaign Wednesday
by Nanette Light, Staff Writer | May 18, 2018
She’s heard stories of hungry kids eating crayons or grass because they think it could be lettuce.
It’s why the North Texas Food Bank calls summer the “hungry season,” said Anna Kurian, the agency’s director of communications.
“It’s really when the need is greater because you have children who aren’t receiving food in schools, where they normally would during the school year,” Kurian said.
A special summer fundraising drive by The Dallas Morning News Charities aims to help. The Kids’ Summer Feeding Campaign, which will launch Wednesday and run through June 29, is working to raise funds to provide 60,000 meals to benefit seven nonprofits that feed children during the summer months. At about $1 a meal, that’s about $60,000.
“The more meals we can get to these kids the better,” said Leona Allen, chair of The Dallas Morning News Charities. “For some of these kids, this is the only meal they get.”
Last year’s inaugural summer drive — the organization’s larger campaign that runs from November through January — met its goal of supplying 30,000 meals more than three times over. It raised about $105,000 from 445 donors — enough for some 105,000 meals.
Last winter’s effort pulled in over $1.25 million from roughly 1,550 donors to benefit 20 North Texas nonprofits that feed the hungry, house homeless families and children, and help the unemployed and others pay bills.
The seven nonprofits supported by this year’s summer campaign also received funds during the winter drive. They were chosen because they have specific summer feeding programs for school-aged children such as providing meals, snacks or bags of groceries. Participating agencies are Allen Community Outreach, Brother Bill’s Helping Hand, Crossroads Community Services, Frisco Family Services, Network of Community Ministries, the North Texas Food Bank and Sharing Life Community Outreach.
According to the food bank, 1 in 4 North Texas kids are food-insecure, meaning they experience times when their household doesn’t have enough food or faces uncertainty about having food.
Kurian said funds from the campaign will support the food bank’s Food 4 Kids program, which provides backpacks filled with nonperishable, kid-friendly food to children during the school year and summer. It also will benefit the agency’s Our Community Pantry, a client-choice food pantry modeled after a traditional grocery store in South Dallas.
In Collin County, campaign donations will fund Frisco Family Services’ summer lunch program, which feeds kids lunch on weekdays, offers a fun activity and on Fridays sends them home with a bag of breakfast foods and snacks for the weekend. Last year, the nonprofit served more than 8,500 lunches.
“To be able to help ensure that kids have a meal, that we don’t have hungry kids … that’s critical,” said Nicole Bursey, the agency’s executive director. “Some child’s belly is depending on it.”
Bursey said the help is critical for serving current and future needs as more people pour into Collin County.
One of the organization’s biggest hurdles, she said, is combating the misperception that people living in one of the state’s wealthiest counties — where the median household income was over $86,000 in 2016, according to the American Community Survey — don’t need help.
In Frisco ISD, nearly 11 percent of students were classified as economically disadvantaged, according to the Texas Education Agency’s 2016 district snapshot.
Bursey said Collin County faces many of the same struggles other communities do but that those challenges oftentimes are hidden.
“While, yes, there is prosperity and there is affluence in Collin County, there’s also a tremendous amount of need,” she said.
Allen Community Outreach: Emergency assistance with rent, utilities, food and clothing for families in Allen, Fairview and Lucas. Financial literacy and GED classes are also offered.
Brother Bill’s Helping Hand: Food, clothing and medical assistance for families in West Dallas. Job training, parenting, healthy living and ESL classes are also offered.
Crossroads Community Services: Food, nutrition, clothing and life skills education.
Frisco Family Services Center: Food, clothing and financial assistance with rent/mortgages, utilities and prescription drugs to families living in Frisco or Frisco ISD. Adult life skills workshops are also offered.
Network of Community Ministries: Food, clothing, financial assistance for rent and utilities, as well as a children’s clinic and comprehensive Seniors’ Net program for those 60 and older. Serves families within Richardson ISD.
North Texas Food Bank: Food 4 Kids program provides weekend food assistance for elementary school children at risk of being chronically hungry. The agency’s Our Community Pantry is a client-choice food pantry modeled after a traditional grocery store in South Dallas.
Sharing Life Community Outreach: Food, clothing and financial assistance for rent and utilities, educational programs and job skills training for low-income residents in southeastern Dallas County.
To donate or learn more
To donate or learn more about The Dallas Morning News Charities and the summer program, visit dmncharities.com. All proceeds will go to provide meals for children in need in North Texas this summer.
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