Are there really hungry people in Dallas? Yes. In Dallas County, 1 in 5 people are food insecure. That means that more than 400,000 of our neighbors lack consistent access to healthy food. Food insecurity rates are highest in families headed by single mothers and families with annual household incomes of $43,000 or less. Although food insecurity is most common among families with children, the number of food-insecure adults aged 50 or older is rising rapidly. Between 207 and 2009, the number of hungry seniors increased by 40 percent.
How Can We Answer the Call? Feeding hungry people is both an act of obedience and worship for the Church. Thankfully, God provides us with many creative resources to answer His call to feed hungry people.
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink” (Matthew 25:35).
I Want to Answer the Call
To start, DBA churches can participate in one-time food distribution events like:
- The Souper Bowl of Caring, that encourages churches to conduct a food drive on Big Game Sunday.
- Day of Caring with the VNA’s Meals on Wheels. Teams of two can deliver meals for two hours on Monday morning, January 18, 2016 (MLK National Day of Service).
- Volunteer to sort food at the North Texas Food Bank, particularly on weekdays when the need is greatest.
- Your church can participate in 5th Sunday offerings for the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering, which supports many of DBA’s hunger ministries.
Volunteer on a Regular Basis
As God calls people to respond to food insecurity on a more consistent basis, churches can provide teams to serve on a consistent schedule to meet on-going needs:
- Deliver nutritious food to homebound senior adults and persons with disabilities by volunteering with the North Texas Food Bank’s Nourishing Neighbors program.
- Take weekly responsibility for a Meals on Wheels route.
- Feed hungry children through a summer meals program (contact Loretta Landry).
- Teach young moms how to cook by volunteering with Cooking Matters.
- Become a navigator with the Community Partner Recruitment Initiative. CPP helps families apply for public benefits, such as SNAP, which can be particularly helpful to children and senior adults living on fixed incomes.
Be a Food Security Advocate
Churches can provide effective hunger relief ministries at their facilities and become powerful food security advocates for their communities:
- Host a “pop up” food pantry 1 or 2 days a month by becoming a community distribution partner with Crossroads Community Services. Food is picked up by the church and distributed to neighbors on the same day, so no long-term food storage space is needed. Families are pre-enrolled, giving churches the opportunity to develop personal relationships with the families they serve.
- Use church-owned land for a community garden or urban farm. Consider selling produce in neighborhood produce stands.
- Speak to senior citizens’ groups about how to purchase healthy foods on a fixed income. Training provided by The Senior Source.
- Join the Dallas Coalition for Hunger Solution’s Faith Action Team. DCHS is a city-wide, multi-sector initiative to encourage collaboration among all kinds of organizations that address hunger. You’ll meet other people throughout the city whose faith compels them to feed the hungry. By working together, we can improve food security in our city!