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The Mobile Food Pantry Delivers More Than Food

This article appeared in the Sept. 25, 2018, issue of the student newsletter.

Just before 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 18, volunteers from Brookhaven College and Vanguard Preparatory School in Farmers Branch began unloading a North Texas Food Bank truck filled with produce. As the volunteers bagged corn cobs and onions, a line of people formed in front of the folding tables brimming with fresh vegetables.

This particular truck serves as the Mobile Food Pantry for Dallas County Community College District. It makes the rounds to each of DCCCD's seven colleges every Fall and Spring semester, delivering fresh produce for free to any interested students, staff or faculty members. Other members of the DCCCD community are also welcome, including parents or guardians of ECHS or Promise students and Head Start families. At Brookhaven, it's affectionately known as the "Totally Free Food Truck," and it's there to feed everyone.

For many DCCCD students and employees, the "Totally Free" Mobile Food Pantry delivers more than just food; it also delivers hope. More than 41% of DCCCD students have missed meals because they didn't have enough money to buy food. The Mobile Food Pantry meets students where they are and delivers a basic necessity, which can help make the difference between enjoying a meal or going hungry.

On Sept. 18, approximately 89 people stopped by the Mobile Food Pantry to pick up fresh food items within the first 26 minutes of service. By the time the truck had to depart for its next location at 11 a.m., 121 members of the Brookhaven community had been served.

How Does It Work?

The process for picking up food from the Mobile Food Pantry is simple. Any interested student, employee or community member can stop by the truck whenever it's on campus (see the schedule below) to get a variety of fresh produce. The selection varies at each stop, depending on what the North Texas Food Bank has available, but the food is bountiful every time.

This Mobile Food Pantry stop delivered potatoes, onions, corn and cilantro. Any person wishing to stop by and take home some food just needed to sign in (with a name only) and list the number of people in his or her household.

Don't worry! The colleges of DCCCD won't call or email you if you sign in; they just want to keep a record of how many people are served at each location. Knowing this information helps the North Texas Food Bank estimate how much food to deliver to each location and helps DCCCD track just how valuable the Mobile Food Pantry is to each college community.

Volunteers Save the Day

The volunteers on Sept. 18 consisted of three Brookhaven employees and a dedicated team of students from Vanguard Preparatory School, which is located just across Midway Road from Brookhaven's campus. The students were accompanied by two of their teachers, Amy Rangel and Dave Welsh.

Volunteers make all the difference when it comes to successfully distributing food delivered by the Mobile Food Pantry. According to Brookhaven College instructor Dr. Jennifer Hudson Allen, the Brookhaven volunteers alone would not have been able to help nearly as many people during the 90 minutes of service without Amy, Dave and the Vanguard students. "They made all the difference," she said.

Volunteering to help with the Mobile Food Pantry is a rewarding experience. If you are looking for ways to serve your college campus, consider volunteering two hours of your time to help others in your community by handing out food when the Mobile Food Pantry visits your college. Student organizations are also encouraged to volunteer.

The Mobile Pantry's Next Moves

Watch for DCCCD's Mobile Food Pantry to make its next stop at your college this Fall semester.

Brookhaven College:

Oct. 16 at 9:30 a.m., Nov. 20 and Dec. 11 at 10:30 a.m.

Located between the M and P buildings (just behind the library)

Cedar Valley College:

Oct. 17 from 2-4 p.m., Nov. 14 from 10 a.m. to noon and Dec. 12 from 2-4 p.m.

Located in Flagpole Circle

Eastfield College:

Oct. 4, Nov. 1 and Dec. 6 at 11 a.m.

Located in Lot 8 (by the G building)

El Centro College:

The first Wednesday of each month (October, November and December) from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Located in the loading dock by Elm Street

Mountain View College:

The second Thursday of each month (October, November and December) from 10 a.m. to noon

Located in the West parking lot in front of the S building (from the Duncanville Avenue entrance)

North Lake College:

Dates not yet announced for the Fall 2018 semester

Richland College:

Alternating Tuesdays, beginning on Sept. 4, at 11:30 a.m.

Located in the East Breezeway

Richland College Garland Campus:

The second Thursday of each month (October, November and December)

Location TBD