September is Hunger Action Month — but so is every other month for these D-FW companies
by FWD>DFW | September 20, 2019
September may signal many things. It’s back-to-school season; football is kicking off; so is the beginning tease of fall weather. But, what you might not know is that September is also Hunger Action Month. It’s a time where people all over the U.S. stand together with Feeding America and a nationwide network of food banks to fight hunger. It’s a month to spread the word and take action on the hunger crisis.
Right in D-FW, many companies combat hunger on a daily basis, including FWD>DFW partners Baylor Scott & White Health, Dallas Mavericks, Frito-Lay, and Toyota.
Baylor Scott & White Health
Food insecurity and lack of access to fresh, healthy foods can be barriers to health, especially in low-income areas. Several Baylor Scott & White Health community initiatives are aimed at easing this burden, empowering people to live healthier lives by eliminating food insecurity, providing nutrition education, and facilitating access to community support resources.
Baylor’s community health workers operate out of clinics and also conduct home visits to screen patients for food insecurity and other nonmedical factors that can often keep people from living their best, healthy lifestyles. They also help connect people with organizations and community support resources who can provide food assistance since two out of every three patients served by community health workers suffers from food insecurity.
In addition, Baylor’s community advocates — a network of student volunteers, clinical and front-line staff, and local community organizations — connect hospital patients from underserved communities with much-needed social services available in their communities, including area food banks, homeless shelters, and counseling services.
The Baylor Scott & White Health and Wellness Center at the Juanita J. Craft Recreation Center in Southern Dallas provides primary care services, cooking classes, a weekly farmer’s market, personalized nutrition education, and opportunities for physical activity to empower healthy living and lower the risk of chronic disease related to diet and lifestyle. The neighborhood health and wellness hub increases access to nutrition education and healthy food in an area where fresh produce can be hard to find.
More than 24 million Americans live in a food desert and 20% of American children struggle with hunger. Those are stats that PepsiCo takes seriously. Their Food for Good initiative is leading a movement to fight childhood hunger and partnering to serve kids in need in all corners of the country, with a focus on D-FW and Texas. Food for Good utilizes PepsiCo’s expertise in taste, nutrition, and distribution and has delivered 25 million meals to low-income families since the program’s inception in 2009, including summer and afterschool meal programs and weekend “backpack” bundles. PepsiCo also has partnered with Feed the Children for the past 10 years, delivering food and daily essentials to families in need in D-FW and across the country.
The company’s generosity also extends to their Employee Giving Campaign, a longstanding tradition that dates back to the 1970s. The annual initiative provides PepsiCo employees with a convenient way of giving back to their communities and has truly become something that makes them proud to part of the team. Through combined efforts, they provide community organizations — including those combating hunger — with millions of dollars each year and countless volunteer hours. In the past 10 years alone, they have raised more than $28 million as a result of the Employee Giving Campaign.
The Mavs actually start September’s Hunger Action Month early with their Mavs Gaming Summer of Service, which focuses on fighting hunger via three service projects. The professional Mavs Gaming players serve meals to the homeless community, provide summer meals to food-insecure kids, and stock the shelves at a food pantry in South Dallas. And, it doesn’t stop there. The Mavs Season of Giving celebrates the holidays with a Turkey Giveaway, donating more than 250 Thanksgiving meals to underprivileged families at Buckner International — often with players on hand to greet families and distribute the meals. More hunger-busting festivities include Dinner with Santa, where the entire Mavs team provides a full dinner and holiday experience for kids struggling with homelessness and hunger.
The basketball team also has a long history of funding nonprofits through the Mavs Foundation, granting more than $600,000 to organizations that provide food for local pantries and homeless shelters as well as meals for kids across North Texas, including CitySquare, Community Food Bank, Dallas Life, Family Gateway, Hope Supply Co., Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance, Metrocrest Services, Sack Summer Hunger, Minnie’s Food Pantry, North Texas Food Bank, Union Gospel Mission, and Vogel Alcove.
Almost a quarter of the nearly 350,000 children currently living in Dallas have no access to fresh fruits, vegetables and other nutritionally adequate foods. This food insecurity can lead to frequent illness and hospitalization — and it doesn’t just impact individual households, it plagues entire communities and neighborhoods.
When Toyota relocated its headquarters to North Texas, one of their first community engagements was to help end hunger via North Texas Food Bank (NTFB). Toyota first worked at the Food Bank’s local pantry, helping change the volunteer and client experience for greater efficiency and increasing its capacity by 67%. Toyota also provided $1 million toward NTFB’s new building in Plano and a vehicle for hunger relief work.
Toyota is also tackling Southern Dallas’ food insecurity rate, which is well above the national average, with a Mobile Food Market to sell fresh fruit and veggies in partnership with UNT. Toyota is supporting the program through a $268,000 grant while sharing expertise, mentoring students, and convening likeminded partners to assist.
But, you don’t have to be a big company to help the D-FW community. Many hunger-fighting organizations like North Texas Food Bank, have volunteer opportunities that anyone and everyone can join. Learn more at fwddfw.com/volunteer.
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