By Harrison Thorn, Rocky Mountain Region, IC Teen Press Corps 2017
The North Texas Food Bank (NTFB) has set a goal to be providing 92 million meals a year by 2025. Participating in LEADS Day at IC 2017, 54 BBYO members and staff from around the world participated in the Stand Up: Hunger - The North Texas Food Bank Leadership Lab led by Samantha Katz (KIO) and Julie Missry (KMR) to help the food bank reach this goal. We started off by listening to 2 knowledgeable speakers who helped us learn the definitions of applicable terms regarding food insecurity (when you don't know where your next meal is coming from) to become more educated about the issues surrounding food insecurity in the Greater Dallas area. We heard from Rebecca Katz, the Education and Training Manager at Repair the World and Loren Shatten, the Assistant Director for Challah for Hunger.
Next, we watched an informative yet comedic video about the safety precautions (all of the people in the video were named after fruits and vegetables) and learned about the various services the NTFB provides, like Food 4 Kids (giving bags of food to children on Fridays so their families have food for the weekend). They also have a program where volunteers drive around North Dallas delivering boxes of nutritious food to seniors who cannot go to the grocery store themselves. These boxes last them 2 weeks and are often the only source of food these seniors have.
Having been inspired by these videos and the programs we were helping, we set to work making bags for school families and sorting fruit. The general populace had a smile on their face and were enjoying their volunteer work through a little competition they created to see which group could make the most bags. We were all happy to be making a difference in the community.
The numbers are staggering. Over a million families in North Dallas are living below the poverty line and 1 in 4 kids in North Texas live in a food insecure household. BBYO's contribution to the NTFB today will help them provide healthy food and fresh produce for the North Dallas area and I'm very proud to have been apart of it. As I sit here today, wishing I'd brought travel tissues, I'm finding that I'm ok wiping my nose on my shirt, because what we've accomplished today is so much bigger than ourselves, and we changed the game, at least temporarily, for hundreds of families in the Dallas area.