July 2, 2020
|David Arnold, of Catholic Charities Fort Worth, delivers boxes of groceries from the Tarrant Area Food Bank to people who need them during the Covid-19 outbreak, Monday, May 11, 2020. (NTC/Rodger Mallison)|
As they have before, Catholic Charities Fort Worth and Tarrant Area Food Bank are once again playing off each other’s strengths to address an immediate need — food insecurity in this instance, aggravated by the twin challenges of decreased donations and the closure of many church and community organization food pantries during the COVID-19 crisis. Many are in need of healthy food options and unsure where to turn.
In order to direct those in need to available food sources quickly, a phone bank whereby CCFW has taken on TAFB’s call center functionality has been established. The partnership combines CCFW’s Community Care Center with TAFB’s software system designed to track all local food pantries and mobile events via an interactive map. The system enables CCFW staff and volunteers to direct callers in need to food sources closest to them.
Adding to the efficiency is the use of CCFW’s transportation fleet to deliver food should a caller lack transportation.
Those in need are urged to call CCFW at 817-534-0814 option 1 from 8 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday.
Staffers will assist callers with a proxy service allowing them to pick up food from pantries on their behalf. Those unable to travel or who lack a proxy and qualify by way of categorical eligibility in other government programs will have food delivered to their home by the transportation fleet.
Counties served include Tarrant, Johnson, Denton, Wise, Parker, Hood, Erath, Palo Pinto, Cooke, Hill, Bosque, Hamilton, and Somervell.
“In times of great need, the best thing we can do is put our heads together and amplify each other’s strengths,” CCFW former CEO and President Michael P. Grace said. “Our teams have been training volunteers, learning the system, and are expecting at least 200 additional calls per week as a result of people seeking essential nutrition. We’re in a perfect place to take this on and support both our community and the food bank.”
TAFB CEO and President Julie Butner identified TAFB’s top priorities as increasing food access and simplifying the process of doing so.
“In addition to tafb.org/find-food page, this new call center and delivery service managed in collaboration with CCFW is a solution our community will cherish,” Butner said.
The Find Food Map includes mobile food events as well as pantries at a variety of churches and area agencies, said Marc Dabal, CCFW director of parish relations and social ministries. Dabal said response to the program, which began on May 5, has been steady but is expected to increase substantially as word gets out.
“All of us at CCFW and TAFB are delighted to offer this service to members of our communities that are most in need,” Dabal said. “It is what we are called to do.”
As they have before, Catholic Charities Fort Worth and Tarrant Area Food Bank are once again playing off each other’s strengths to address an immediate need — food insecurity in this instance, aggravated by the twin challenges of decreased donations and the closure of many church and community organization food pantries during the COVID-19 crisis.