Most of us, at one time or another, find ourselves “starving to death”. Of course that statement couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s more of a fleeting sensation—just something we say before sitting down to a large meal.
Hunger—true hunger—seems to exist only in some distant place, under a bridge in the city, certainly not in our neighborhood.
GRACE Director of Programs Stacy Pacholick has a better take. Ms. Pacholick presented a report titled, “Combating Hunger in our Community,” to the GRACE Board of Directors last week.
In her report, Ms. Pacholick tackled the issue of food insecurity right here in northeast Tarrant County and in the state.
The statistics are alarming: nearly 20% of the people in Tarrant County—1 in 5—experience food insecurity, in which a family lacks access to enough food for all household members to enjoy an active and healthy life.
One-quarter of all counties in the United States with 100,000 or more food insecure children are in Texas. Texas ranks number 2—second only to Mississippi—in the nation for total number of food insecure people.
Locally, 24% of the children attending Grapevine-Colleyville ISD schools are on the “free and reduced” lunch program.
Ms. Pacholick identified three large “food desserts”—large areas where access to grocers, fresh produce, dairy products, and un-processed foods is limited in the Grapevine area.
When we imagine having so little that meals can become negotiable, we are identifying with the reality of families living in our midst—our communities and neighborhoods—struggling between necessities like rent, diapers, utilities and daycare.
“GRACE steps in to bridge the gap of needs in various ways, food being one of the pillars of our services,” said Ms. Pacholick.
Feed Our Kids was established to provide nutritious meals during the summer months to hundreds of children who receive free or reduced lunch from the school cafeteria. Support from the community allows us to provide over 37,000 meals each summer.
GRACE Grocery Giveaway is now in its third year, according to Ms. Pacholick.
“We bring a mobile food pantry to those same areas [as Feed Our Kids],” she said.
GRACE Grocery Giveaway puts to use fresh produce and perishable food that is in danger of expiring.
“This way, families receive nutritious food at the peak of freshness to enjoy over the weekend,” said Ms. Pacholick. “Last year we were able to give over 12,000 bags filled with groceries to hungry families.”
These two programs are intentionally “uncomplex” and filled with purpose: to be there for local families by providing meals to their children and offering stability during an unstable time.
Ms. Pacholick concluded, “The GRACE mission is a continual effort in every season and every day.”
For more information on the ways GRACE combats hunger in our communities, please contact Stacy Pacholick, at 817-305-4636.
If you are interested in getting involved in Feed Our Kids, sponsorship opportunities are available to adopt a day or week of meals. Contact Lori Stevens for details, 817-992-4690.
A Food Pantry Needs List is regularly updated on GRACE’s website to meet the real-time needs of families. If you or your group is interested in hosting a collection drive or meeting these needs, you can find them here. Contact Eugene Cabrera for further details, 817-305-4677