Closing the Gap(s)
2. Kids Cafe, a program that provides free meals to children who may not have access to food once they leave school. The program currently operates out of 27 sites, with funding from several donors. With every fourth child in Texas at risk for experiencing hunger, the Kids Cafe program plans for continued expansion.
3. Food 4 Kids, which helps ensure that no schoolchildren go hungry on weekends. The program operates in 330 elementary schools in North Texas and feeds up to 12,000 students weekly. Every Friday, each eligible child receives a backpack that includes roughly four pounds of nutritious food items.
4. The Mobile Pantry program, which provides enough emergency food to last two people up to four days. It is designed to serve those that are unable to get to a food pantry to receive food.
Pruitt says Close the Gap prompted NTFB to take a fresh look at its brand and its approach to fundraising. Most importantly, the organization was forced, due to the persistence of the economic downturn, to re-evaluate the criteria by which it gauges the relative success of its various campaigns.
"There were unprecedented numbers of people looking for help who hadn't previously been part of our calculations," Pruitt says. "We realized that we weren't only dealing with people whose incomes place them below the poverty line. We were also dealing with large numbers of people who were food-insecure but were not officially living below the poverty line."
Close the Gap was a reminder to NTFB that hunger's footprint in North Texas is larger than it once was, and that "closing the gap" is a tricky business when economic instability begins to affect large groups of people who aren't used to worrying about where their next paychecks are coming from.