People in need can pick up grocery items to feed their families from food pantries throughout the region—from Corsicana to Denison—and odds are good those items stopped by the North Texas Food Bank on the way to their table.

Headquartered in Plano, the NTFB distributes free, nutritious food to charity pantries around the North Texas area. The organization’s narrow office floor wraps around a 240,000-square-foot warehouse that NTFB Senior Communications Manager Jeff Smith said compares to a giant Costco.

The organization distributes more than 340,000 meals daily through its feeding network of churches, businesses, charity groups and individuals.

Around 42% of the NTFB’s food stock comes from private donations. Government hunger relief programs chip in for around 32%, and the NTFB purchases the remaining share.

Now, inflation has driven more North Texans to seek help, leading to a demand on the NTFB’s services that Smith called “unprecedented.”

“Inflation is impacting their ability to stretch their dollar,” Smith said of North Texas families.

People who visit the NTFB’s food pantry network commonly cite inflation as a factor in their choice to seek hunger relief, Smith said. According to a 2022 voluntary survey responses report, one mother of four in Plano ISD said the pantry in Armstrong Middle School softened the budget blow of other necessities.

Rising costs have hampered the organization’s ability to receive and deliver food on time.

High prices have also squeezed North Texas grocery stores that donate food to the NTFB, such as Albertsons, Kroger and Sam’s Club, Smith said.

“They can’t donate what they don’t have,” he said.

For the NTFB, though, inflation is a familiar obstacle.

In 2022, the NTFB celebrates 40 years since Jo Curtis, Kathryn Hall, Lorraine Griffin Kircher and Liz Minyard pooled their experience in government, agriculture and business to redirect food from landfills to hungry families.

Since then, the organization has grown to cover about 10,000 square miles of North Texas, spanning from a cluster of counties along the Red River to Navarro County down south.

Smith stressed that no donation of food or funds is too small but called volunteers the “lifeblood” of the NTFB.

“Without volunteers, we have to hire people to come in and do the things that would have to get done, so that costs additional resources that we’re not able to put toward food,” Smith said.

Ways to Help

People can help the North Texas Food Bank in a number of ways.

Send food: The organization encourages supporters to host or join virtual food drives. It also offers tips to host a drive.

Donate money: The NTFB accepts funds online.

Volunteer: Volunteers package food at the Plano warehouse Tuesday-Saturday. Additionally, the NTFB seeks volunteer help around the state for other programs.

North Texas Food Bank

Perot Family Campus

3677 Mapleshade Lane, Plano


Hours: Mon.-Fri. 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. closed Sat.-Sun.