In May, The Dallas Morning News Charities launched a first-time campaign to raise funds to feed hungry North Texas children during summer break.
The goal was $30,000. At about $1 per meal, that’s roughly 30,000 meals.
Donors more than tripled that measure, though, as the inaugural summer feeding campaign raised about $105,000 from 445 donors — enough for approximately 105,000 meals.
The drive, which began May 15 and ended June 27, benefits six nonprofits that feed kids during the summer months.
Jim Moroney (right), publisher and CEO of The Dallas Morning News, and Richard Jones, chairman of The Dallas Morning News Charities board.
"The community stepped up in a much bigger way than we anticipated," said Richard Jones, chairman of The Dallas Morning News Charities’ board. "When you’re dealing with families and children, most people understand the need. … And the thought of a hungry child, I think, really resonates with our readers."
The summer drive was a first for the organization, which normally runs its major campaign from November through January. This past winter’s effort raised $1.2 million from nearly 1,600 donors. It benefited 20 nonprofits that feed the hungry; house homeless families, children and runaway teenagers; and help others pay the bills.
The six nonprofits supported by the summer campaign also received funds during the winter drive. They were chosen because they provide meals, snacks or bags of groceries to families with children during the summer. The six are: Allen Community Outreach, Brother Bill’s Helping Hand, Crossroads Community Services, Frisco Family Services, North Texas Food Bank and Sharing Life Community Outreach.
"We are so thankful to our donors and Dallas Morning News employees for their compassion to help feed hungry North Texas children during the critical summer months," Camille Grimes, executive director of The Dallas Morning News Charities, said in an email. "Kids need healthy food options to help with brainpower and development, but they also need smart food options during the summer to play, have fun and be kids."
Anna Kurian, director of communications for the North Texas Food Bank, said the funds will help the nonprofit provide food to its more than 200 partner agencies in the area — several of which are News Charities nonprofits.
"We as a food bank know that summer is the hungriest season, and that’s because kids don’t have access to those school meals," Kurian said.
When school is in session, the food bank’s Food 4 Kids program provides backpacks filled with nonperishable, kid-friendly food to elementary children on Friday afternoons, feeding about 12,000 hungry students each week. And its Kids Cafe program serves nearly 2,400 children lunch and snacks during the year’s hottest months, according to the food bank’s website.
"A campaign during the summer is really important because it raises awareness about the issue, and it reminds everyone that people aren’t just hungry during the holidays," she said. "It’s a year-round issue."
According to the food bank, 1 in 4 kids are food insecure, meaning they experience times when there is not enough food in a household or there’s real uncertainty about having food.
In West Dallas, Brother Bill’s Helping Hand provides 300 meals per week to kids during the summer, along with an additional 150 meals one Saturday each month.
Funds from the The News Charities’ campaign will help sustain that effort, along with support for summer kid programs like ballet, art and soccer camps, executive director Wes Keyes said.
"This is just a blessing, quite frankly, to the people of West Dallas and to our ministry," he said. "All this money will go to help feeding West Dallas families."
Recipients of The Dallas Morning News Charities Summer Feeding Campaign:
Allen Community Outreach: Emergency assistance with rent, utilities, food and clothing for families in Allen, Fairview and Lucas. Financial literacy and GED classes are also offered.
Brother Bill’s Helping Hand: Food, clothing and medical assistance for families in West Dallas. Job training, parenting, healthy living and ESL classes are also offered.
Crossroads Community Services: Food, nutrition, clothing and life skills education.
Frisco Family Services Center: Food, clothing and financial assistance with rent/mortgages, utilities and prescription drugs to families living in Frisco or Frisco ISD. Adult life skills workshops are also offered.
North Texas Food Bank: Food 4 Kids program provides weekend food assistance for elementary school children at risk of being chronically hungry.
Sharing Life Community Outreach: Food, clothing and financial assistance for rent and utilities, educational programs and job skills training for low-income residents in southeastern Dallas County.