Frequently Asked Questions
How successful is Tarrant Area Food Bank in its fight against hunger?
Fighting hunger is an ongoing battle as the population grows and the economy expands and contracts. Each month, Tarrant Area Food Bank and its network of Partner Agencies are providing groceries and/or meals to more than 53,000 family and individual households representing more than 167,000 unduplicated individuals. The more donations of food, funds and volunteer time TAFB receives, the more food it can distribute to those Partner Agencies and through Tarrant Area Food Bank mobile pantries and direct feeding programs for children and seniors.
Where does Tarrant Area Food Bank get most of its food?
Most of the food Tarrant Area Food Bank distributes is donated by the food industry, including growers, manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors and retailers. About 50% is fresh or frozen and trending toward becoming 58% or more of food donated by the food industry. Thus, the nonperishable food donated through food drives helps fill the gap in the food from commercial donors.
What time of year is food needed most?
Hunger doesn’t take a vacation. Food is needed all year round. However, donations are often the lowest in February and March and again during the summer. In addition, in January and February fewer people volunteer, affecting the amount of holiday food drive donations processed in Quality Control and thus the amount of nonperishable food Tarrant Area Food Bank can distribute during those months. We encourage groups to hold food drives and to volunteer during February, March and April through August as well as during the fall and winter holidays.
What are the top 5 most needed foods?
The most needed foods are canned meat, fish or peanut butter, canned vegetables, canned fruits, dried beans and rice.
Does Tarrant Area Food Bank take baby food?
Tarrant Area Food Bank can only accept baby formula and cereal donations from the food industry. Jars of baby food must be in the original cases of the manufacturer.
Do you accept food from individuals who are not contributing to a food drive?
Tarrant Area Food Bank accepts nonperishable foods from individuals as well as from food drives. We can also accept produce from a garden.
Do you accept refrigerated or frozen foods?
Approximately 50% of the food donated by the food industry is fresh or frozen foods. During the fall/holiday food drive we invite individuals and groups to donate frozen turkeys.
Do you collect food from restaurants (banquets, hotels, weddings)?
Tarrant Area Food Bank and its Partner Agencies pick up food primarily from major grocery chains. Through the store donation program, our truck fleet and selected Partner Agencies pick up fresh produce, fresh prepared food and frozen foods from more than 100 grocery stores each week.
Will Tarrant Area Food Bank pick up our donations?
Tarrant Area Food Bank can only pick up donations of 750 pounds or more that are scheduled with us at least two weeks in advance of the pick-up date. To schedule a pick-up, please fill out and submit our Transportation Form. During the week, TAFB’s drivers and trucks are busy picking up commercial food donations. During November and December when many of the largest food drives are held, Tarrant Area Food Bank depends on volunteer drivers with trucks from commercial distributors and trucking companies to pick up the larger donations from school districts and corporations.
Are they any other places in the community where I can drop my donations?
In Tarrant County during November and December, individuals, families and smaller food drive groups can drop off their donations at their neighborhood fire stations. Tarrant Area Food Bank volunteers pick up these collections from the fire stations. The rest of the year food donations need to be dropped off at the Tarrant Area Food Bank Distribution Center, 2600 Cullen St., Fort Worth, 76107.
When can I deliver my food donations?
Tarrant Area Food Bank can receive smaller donations in its lobby during the following times: Monday through Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Friday 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Larger food donations that need to be unloaded directly into the warehouse can be delivered Monday through Thursday between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m., and Friday between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m.
How does Tarrant Area Food Bank make sure the food it distributes is safe to eat?
Much of the food received from food companies is in unopened cases and shrink-wrapped in stacks on pallets. That food does not have to be inspected before it is distributed.
Food from food drives and unsold product from grocery shelves goes through Quality Control in our warehouse. There, volunteers sort, inspect and pack food items into boxes for distribution to our partner hunger-relief charities. All volunteers are instructed on what to look for to determine if food in a can or box is still good or if it has been contaminated and must be discarded. Experienced TAFB staff members supervise the volunteers.
If a food item distributed by Tarrant Area Food Bank is recalled by the manufacturer, what does TAFB do?
Tarrant Area Food Bank follows the directions of the national organization to which it belongs, Feeding America, the national network of regional food banks. Feeding America alerts all its member food banks and provides all the information Tarrant Area Food Bank needs to track down any of the recalled items that may be in its warehouse.
If Tarrant Area Food Bank has distributed any of a recalled food to its Partner Agencies, TAFB will know it from its inventory tracking system. If Tarrant Area Food Bank has distributed the recalled item, staff immediately alert partner agencies so they can search their stores of food for it. If a partner agency has already distributed any of the recalled item, the agency can notify its clients.
How much does Tarrant Area Food Bank spend on freight costs to get food to its warehouse?
Tarrant Area Food Bank operates its own truck fleet and also pays outside companies for freight packaging and transportation. Our total transportation budget to move food from donors and into our warehouse approaches $1,000,000 a year.
Who are the people who receive food assistance?
Most people who seek food assistance have to swallow their pride before going to a pantry or soup kitchen. Many are hard-working low-wage earners without health insurance who are trying to support families while dealing with medical bills, major car repairs or other situations that become financial crises because of their low incomes. Others are living on fixed Social Security incomes—people such as senior citizens or individuals with severe disabilities or life-threatening chronic illnesses. Some are middle-income earners who have been laid off and have spent their savings while job hunting.
Of all the people served by Tarrant Area Food Bank’s network of partner charities, 35% are children. In addition to eating groceries from pantries or even meals at soup kitchens, these children may eat at one of TAFB’s Kids Cafés after school or take home over the weekend a backpack of food supplied by Tarrant Area Food Bank.
How can a family or individual get food from Tarrant Area Food Bank?
Tarrant Area Food Bank does not provide food directly to people. We supply food to our Partner Agencies that serve individuals and families in our 13-county region.
Enter your ZIP code in our Find Food map to view a list of local agencies that provide food assistance. Our Social Services Outreach team also helps people apply for SNAP, financial assistance and other aid. Learn more.
In addition, individuals and families seeking food assistance can find help by calling the three-digit phone number 2-1-1 or if calling from a cell phone, dial 817-258-8100. These two phone numbers reach United Way’s information and referral staff, who can give the caller information about social service agencies that serve their home ZIP code area.
How does a person qualify for food assistance?
Tarrant Area Food Bank only requires that a Partner Agency serve people in need. Partner Agencies set their own criteria for food assistance since they know their community better than TAFB does. The one exception is the distribution of USDA commodities. The U.S. Department of Agriculture requires that people receiving commodities meet certain income eligibility criteria.
How many people volunteer at Tarrant Area Food Bank?
In an average year, 25,000 visits to TAFB by volunteers, including adults, teens and younger children, result in 80,000 volunteer hours being contributed to our mission. This does not include the volunteers who work with our Partner Agencies.
Does Tarrant Area Food Bank offer volunteer opportunities for court-ordered community service?
Yes. Individuals with court-ordered community service, including lawyer-referred service or teen court, may volunteer in Quality Control. An orientation prior to beginning their service hours is required. Learn more.
Does Teen Court send kids to Tarrant Area Food Bank?
Teen Court recognizes donation of food and volunteer work performed at Tarrant Area Food Bank as community service.
Can high school and college students volunteer to meet degree requirements for community service?
Are you part of United Way or state or county government?
No to all three of these. Tarrant Area Food Bank is a private nonprofit supported by individuals, foundations, corporations and community groups. The only government money we receive is reimbursement for handling and distributing USDA Commodities and matching funds to provide SNAP/Food Stamp Nutrition Education to low-income families. Tarrant Area Food Bank’s only connection to United Way is that during the annual United Way campaign, donors may elect to give to one or more charities on a select list of independent charities that includes Tarrant Area Food Bank.
Where does your financial support come from?
The majority of our financial support comes from donations made by individuals. We also receive grants from foundations and corporations. Additional income is provided by the Shared Maintenance Fee paid by Partner Agencies to help defray the costs of transporting, storing and distributing food.
Why should I write a check to Tarrant Area Food Bank instead of to my local food pantry?
Tarrant Area Food Bank encourages you to support both organizations. Your local food pantry probably would not distribute as much or as nutritious a mix of food if it weren’t a partner with TAFB. In turn, without partner agencies such as your food pantry, Tarrant Area Food Bank would not be able to distribute the food it collects each month.
What percentage of my donation goes toward feeding people?
Of Tarrant Area Food Bank’s total annual revenue, including the value of food handled, 96 percent of that revenue goes toward programs, which includes food collection and distribution, direct feeding programs for children, nutrition services and culinary job training.
How do we know our monetary donations are being used to feed people and not for administrative costs?
Monetary donations help support all of our operating expenses. Operating expenses include, among other items, staff salaries and benefits, warehouse equipment, trucks and fuel, freight charges, insurance, warehouse and office supplies, computer equipment and utilities (including electricity for two warehouse freezers and two warehouse coolers). Without staff, equipment, utilities and supplies, no food could be received or distributed.