The North Texas Food Bank
NTFB’s summer feeding program not only provides breakfast to children enrolled in daycare, we provide backpacks of kid-friendly food for the weekend, and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables to keep them healthy while on vacation. Here is an example of how your support helps kids in our community.
A site coordinator from one of our sites reported that prior to registering a set of second grade twins on the backpack program, Casey and Jamie* came in every morning complaining about being hungry, and they cried easily with any minor issues or problems. Their dad is not in the picture anymore, and mom has a really hard time financially. As they received their first backpacks full of food, Casey and Jamie both gave me a huge hug and thanked me. They smile every time they receive a backpack, and it has made a huge difference in their ability to cope with life’s challenges.
Sam, a single mom of four, is categorized as the working poor of Collin County. She earns more than minimum wage, but doesn’t earn enough to make ends meet at the end of the month. This past summer, ACO partnered with Sam and her family to close the gap and fill the need in her home through ACO KIDS Summer Food Program. ACO’s program provides every child with a large bag of kid-friendly and easy-fix foods every two weeks. These bags of groceries helped Sam eliminate the rising cost of groceries during the summer months and ensured her children had three meals a day. The money Sam saved on grocery purchases allowed her to manage other financial responsibilities in her home. Sam was overwhelmed with excitement knowing each of her children was given a personal bag of breakfast and lunch foods “just for them”. ACO Summer Food Program not only feeds kids, but makes it personal!
Amanda is seven years old and very mature for her age. She has had to grow up in a hurry, because unfortunately she has responsibility for her younger sister when their parents aren’t home. During the school year, they are only alone for a few hours in the house before her Mom comes home from work. Their Dad works two jobs to try and make ends meet, so he’s home very little. During the school year, Amanda and her sister are on the Free and Reduced Breakfast and Lunch Program which ensures they have healthy meals twice a day. However, with summertime here, Amanda is responsible for herself and her sister for 8 hours each weekday. Her parents are barely able to afford the groceries for a family of four, so they plan one meal in the evening thanks to their monthly access to the ACO Food Pantry. And thanks to the ACO KIDS Summer Food Program, Amanda and her sister will have nutritious breakfast, lunch and snack foods to eat while they are home alone during the summer. Mom said last summer’s food program was a real blessing for their family. Two Saturdays a month from June through August, Amanda’s parents will come to the pantry this summer and bring the girls. They are both again excited to get their very own bags, which not only have foods they look forward to, but sometimes other surprises like books, small toys, a new toothbrush and such. Two Saturdays a month, Amanda and her sister will leave the pantry with big smiles knowing that they won’t go hungry this summer.
Ruth, a senior living on a fixed income, currently has full custody of her 8-year-old grandson, Devin. Ruth loves taking care of Devin, but the added expenses of taking care of a child made it difficult to make ends meet. Ruth had to make tough choices between paying all the bills or keeping food on the table as she could no longer do both.
During the school year, Devin is a part of the 11% of Frisco ISD students who receives free and reduced lunches at school. Before Ruth started receiving services from Frisco Family Services, the summer months put a real financial strain on her food budget, having to buy more groceries to provide Devin with lunch at home every day. Last year,Ruth and Devin participated in Frisco Family Services’ Summer Lunch Program, where more than 10,000 lunches and snack packs were distributed. Not only did the Summer Lunch Program provide them with enough food to keep them healthy, but she was able to take Devin out to play with other kids his own age, make new friends and enjoy fun-filled activities.
“I was worried when I got custody of my grandson that I would not be able to give him everything that he needs,” said Ruth. “The Summer Lunch Program not only provided healthy food for Devin, but he also got to partake in fun activities and make new friends. Going to the Summer Lunch Program was something we both looked forward to going to every week!”
Tom and Anna Johnson were happily married, raising four beautiful children, living the life they always dreamed they would. Then, just like that, life as they knew it, would never be the same. In 2003, Tom was diagnosed with stage 4 congestive heart failure.
Aside from his job as a loving husband and father, Tom’s new job was to fight for his life. With Anna working as an RN at a local hospital, the family was able to stay in their current renter’s home in McKinney, and put food on the table. That is until, Anna fell and hurt her ankle and knee. With limited mobility, she had to take medical leave from her job. Now, the only source of income coming in was Tom’s disability check. This was not enough money to support a family of six. They needed help.
The Johnson family, suffering from a crisis they never thought they would face, reached out to Frisco Family Services for help. In meeting with a case manager, they received the support, encouragement, and community resources they desperately needed. Visits to the Frisco’s only Community Food Pantry put food on the table. Gas cards allowed Anna to drive her kids to school, and take her husband to doctor’s appointments. Emergency Financial Assistance helped pay their electric, gas and water bills. Through Seasonal Programs, like the Thanksgiving Meal Program, they were able to sit down as a family over a meal.
“With the help of Frisco Family Services, we realized we were more than just our situation,” said Anna. “We are a family, members of a strong community, and together we can do anything.”
The Rinaldi family never thought they would have to relive the hardest time of their lives. In 2012, Linda, a wife and mother of two, was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. To begin chemo therapy treatments, Linda was forced to leave her job. One year later, the family was elated to learn that Linda had gone into remission. She was able to work again part-time, and support her family. They thought their struggles were finally coming to an end.
This year, Linda’s breast cancer returned. It returned more aggressive than ever, and was diagnosed as a stage 4. The family was not ready to face another crisis. They were once again, a one-income household. Her husband’s income was not enough to support them. Medical bills began piling up, and even putting food on the table was a struggle.
The Rinaldi family turned to Frisco Family Services for assistance. In meeting with a case manager, support, encouragement, and community resources were provided. Frisco Family Services assisted with food, gas cards, rent, and seasonal programs. They were able to pay for Linda’s medical bills, and have healthy food to eat for every meal.
“I thought my battle with cancer was finally over, but when it returned so aggressively, I started to lose hope,” said Linda. “There was no way my husband and I could support two kids on just his income alone. Frisco Family Services gave us that hope back.”
Read multiple client testimonies and stories of hope, thanks to Cedar Hill Shares.
“I came to the Food Pantry because I did not know how or what I was going to feed my babies that night. Thanks to the pantry my three babies went to bed full and happy.”
“I want you to know I really appreciate everything the Pantry does for me, and may I say, “God Bless You”.
“I am a 76 year old grandmother raising my grandchildren. I couldn’t make ends meet and could not provide food for my grandchildren even though I received food stamps. I heard about the Food Pantry, applied and I am so thankful to Ms. Gene and all of them – I could not have fed my grandchildren had it not been for the Cedar Hill Shares.”
“I am so grateful for the Food Pantry. I am a senior citizen, a disabled widower living alone on a fixed income. The Pantry provides me with fresh fruit and produce to help me live a productive life style.”
“First, I want to say thank you Cedar Hill Shares for all the help and support they have given us. My husband has been battling epilepsy for the past several years – there are times when he is unable to work – leaving us with no income. We prayed and asked the Lord to provide a way. He did just that – we discovered the Food Pantry.”
“I am a single senior citizen living on a small Social Security income. A lot of days I would have nothing to eat after I paid bills. If it had not been for Cedar Hill Shares Food Pantry I couldn’t make it. The kind of food I receive is nourishing and good. Everyone is so friendly and kind.”
“I would like to thank the Food Pantry for the kind of service they have rendered myself and my family in our times of need. God bless all those who volunteer there.”
“In 2003 I was involved in an accident which limited my ability to work. I was hit from behind and subsequently had a brain stroke. I don’t know what I would do without the Pantry, but I do know that I can see God’s hand in the experiences I now have at the Cedar Hill Shares Food Pantry.”
“Today I received a 100% blessing – Cedar Hill SharesFood Pantry paid my TXY bill – a greater blessing is I learned about the services at the Pantry and I am now applying to become a client for regular food” – truly a blessing.”