“We are having trouble actually purchasing food at this point,” Network CEO Cindy Shafer said. “The North Texas Food Bank is running low on the food that they have, and that is our primary source of food.”
An average of 50 families per day visited Network’s food pantry prior to the coronavirus. Over the past month, that daily number has increased to 100 families, Shafer said.
As a result, the organization is requesting donations of canned vegetables, fruit, peanut butter, jelly, pasta, cereal, rice and beans.
“We've doubled our regular pantry, and then added to that, we give boxes [of food] to Richardson ISD,” Shafer said.
Most of the organization’s volunteers are older and therefore more susceptible to the virus, said Tina Floyd, Network’s development and marketing director. As a result, Network lost roughly half its volunteers in March, Floyd said.
To help fill the void, members of the National Guard and workers from nonprofit organization Get Shift Done have been volunteering alongside Network staff and members of the community, Shafer said.
“We are just doing what we need to do to meet [the demand],” she said. “Everyone is focused on doing their job, and we've been able to keep up.”
Network is also asking monetary donations, which go towards rental assistance as well as food, Shafer said.
“You have people who unexpectedly lost all income and just haven't seen any cash flow for a month,” Shafer said. “So, any financial help that people could do if you aren't in a bad situation, we're appreciating that too.”
Shafer said Network is thankful for the outpouring of support it has received during the pandemic.
“I just appreciate this community rallying around us so that we can help our neighbors,” she said.