Crossroads Community Services
- What do you see as one or two of the greatest challenges to helping the homeless and the hungry in North Texas?
One of our greatest challenges at Crossroads is knowing how much food assistance families need. Every family faces different challenges and is facing a different set of obstacles to getting the quantity of food they need.
Our primary goal is to provide families with large quantities of nutritious food, but it is often hard to tell if we’re providing everything they need. We do not want families to have to spend their time, gas, bus fare, etc. travelling to multiple food pantries when we have the ability to provide what they need.
Another challenge Crossroads faces is providing the variety of food our client families want and deserve. Because we specialize in only providing nutritious foods (lean proteins, fresh produce, etc.) that families can use to build balanced meals, variety is constantly a challenge.
- How would you describe your mission, and how are you specifically helping the homeless and the hungry?
Crossroads’ mission to provide low-income families with large quantities of nutritious foods, and to provide nutrition education that can help reduce obesity in impoverished areas. We provide families with large quantities of healthy foods – a family of four will receive around 100 pounds of groceries each time they visit Crossroads!
We offer a variety of healthy options in each food group for families to choose from. We then offer families recipes for how to prepare healthy meals, and portion suggestions for each family member based on their age, gender, and activity level. When a family leaves with 100 pounds of proteins, grains, fresh fruits and vegetables they are saving around $200 that month, dollars that can be allocated toward housing, utility, medical or education related expenses.
- Can you give us an example of a person (named or unnamed) who has benefited from your services? How have they benefited? If it’s appropriate, tell us a short story.
Fritzi has been coming to Crossroads for just over five years to help with groceries for her husband, Carlos, and their four children. When her husband was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes a few years ago, the way they ate had to change.
Thankfully, Crossroads is able to provide Fritzi with the healthy food options her family needs that often are not available in their neighborhood. Fritzi does not always need Crossroads’ assistance. Carlos has been working for the same cement company for 17 years and generally earns enough to support his family, but when the weather is bad or the ground is too muddy he does not work. Recently, with all of the rain and bad weather, Carlos has not been able to work as many days as he needs. But thankfully Crossroads is here to help the family with groceries so that the money he does earn can pay their rent, for his medications and anything else the family needs.
- Is there anything new that you are focused on for the coming year? Any new initiatives?
In 2016, Crossroads is excited to take our work with our research partners to a new level. Crossroads partners with behavioral economists, medical researchers, the North Texas Food Bank Hunger Center, and others to both learn how we can better serve our clients and to give our clients a voice in matters which directly affect their lives.
For example, researchers at UT Southwestern are interested in learning more about the health challenges facing low-income populations, but accessing those individuals is difficult. By hosting focus groups and creating surveys of Crossroads’ clients the researchers can learn more about the health obstacles our client families face, where there are gaps in service, etc., and our clients have a platform to voice their needs and opinions to those who regularly report to policy makers and service providers.
- What else should North Texas residents know about your work?
In 2006, Crossroads began development of an innovative and new approach to food distribution. We used a hub-and-spoke model to get nutritious foods to neighborhoods of Dallas County that need it the most. Crossroads leverages existing resources, the North Texas Food Bank’s ability to provide tons of fresh produce and healthy food, and the resources and passion of the Community Distribution Partners (“spokes”) to make the biggest impact in fighting hunger in our community.
We are very excited that the North Texas Food Bank has embraced this model and will be rolling it out throughout their 13 county service area in the coming years. Working together, food-insecure families across North Texas receive healthy food options in their neighborhoods.
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