“We are not out of the woods yet with [the coronavirus],” she said. “I think there are still economic conditions that are driving people to Network at a high level.”
Since March, Network has seen a major spike in community needs, according to the organization’s Development and Marketing Director Tina Floyd. In the past four months, Network has given out 1.3 million pounds of food, which is nearly double the amount distributed in fiscal year 2018-19.
Network has modified several of its services to meet the demand. The nonprofit closed its clothing closet in March to try to slow the spread of the virus; in its place, it implemented an online clothing boutique. Clients are able to shop for items online and pick them up at Network, Floyd said.
“People come to the front door, give us their name, and we supply them with the bag of clothes that they've ordered online,” she said.
The nonprofit has expanded its job search services as the rate of unemployment grows regionally. In Dallas County, 32,111 unemployment claims were filed between July 1-Aug. 1, according to the Texas Workforce Commission. In response, Network has hired a full-time job coach to help residents navigate the search process, Floyd said.
Network is also planning to resume an expanded version of its mobile food pantry program when schools reopen for face-to-face instruction Sept. 8. The service delivers food to families at high-need schools.
Members of the community are encouraged to drop off nonperishable items such as pasta, macaroni and cheese, canned meats and peanut butter, Floyd said. Network is also looking for people to donate their time, as only about 30% of its regular volunteers are able to work, she said. Monetary donations are also requested as more clients are in need of rent and housing assistance.
To learn more about volunteer opportunities or donations, visit www.thenetwork.org.