Tarrant Area Food Bank is the primary source of donated food for hunger-relief charities and feeding programs in 13 North Texas counties. Since its inception in 1982, TAFB has served the same 13-county region, which includes Erath County and Stephenville.
TAFB provides food for five organizations and food pantries in Erath County: H.O.P.E. Inc., Grace Place, Basic Needs, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church food pantry and the Dublin Love Basket.
All five organizations work together to provide food for families at the Stephenville Community Pantry that takes places on the third Thursday of every month from 5-7 p.m.
"TAFB is a great organization. We couldn’t function without them," said Executive Director of H.O.P.E. Inc. Jill Scott. "We depend on the food bank tremendously. We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without them."
TAFB has held multiple mobile pantry events at Chamberlin Elementary in Stephenville since the impact of COVID-19 has hit local families. Their event on Thursday, May 14, helped distribute food to 300 families.
Grace Place is First Baptist’s benevolence ministry to Erath County residents helping those in need. They work with 11 local churches to provide financial assistance with bills.
Grace Place also operates a regular food pantry through its ministry center, which is open noon to 3 p.m. on Mondays and 9 a.m. to noon Tuesday through Thursday.
H.O.P.E. Inc. is Tarrant Area Food Bank’s largest partner agency.
"Of the nearly half a million pounds we have distributed in Erath County since the beginning of our fiscal year in October, H.O.P.E. Inc. has been responsible for 150,000 of that total," said Dylan Solis, marketing and communications coordinator with TAFB.
According to www.hopestephenville.com., a recent study conducted by the TAFB and Feed America states that approximately one in six Erath County residents are living without enough food and more than one in four local children are at risk of hunger.
Of the Erath County children facing hunger, 19% are ineligible for government assistance programs or free or reduced-price school meals because of their family's income.
"Honestly, we have had over 900 different households that have come through the pantries at Chamberlin over the last two months and a lot of people, it’s been people that have never had to ask for help before, but all of a sudden their business got shut down or they lost their income," Scott said. "A lot of people found themselves in a situation that they have never been in before, so hopefully we’ve been able to help them relieve a little bit of the strain of feeding their families."
Scott also said that going into the summer, instead of holding a mobile food pantry every week at Chamberlin, there will be a drive-through food pantry on the first Thursday of the month and the third Thursday of the month at Stephenville Community Pantry.
"It's been very eye opening," Scott added. "If there’s that many people that have needed help, I'm glad we were able to work with the food bank and provide that service for them."