The survey was conducted to gauge awareness of hunger in North Texas as part of the Together We Feed More Campaign, sponsored by Texas Trust, which kicked off on Valentine's day.
Texas Trust will donate $30,000 to the North Texas Food Bank, which will help feed 90,000 people. The campaign's goal is to encourage enough donations of food and money to feed another 30,000 people. Texas Trust will raise money and collect non-perishable food through a six-week food drive in Mansfield, Grand Prairie, Cedar Hill, and surrounding cities.
Other noteworthy survey findings:
• 76 percent of respondents perceive that the need for food from food pantries is consistent throughout the year, but 12 percent had it correct, that North Texans are more in need of food support in the summer, when children don't have access to school-based meal programs;
• If they faced hunger themselves, most people surveyed said their first response would be to eat smaller meals with lower-cost food and ask family members for help. Only 16 percent said their first step would be to seek government assistance;
• 57 percent of respondents believe that the homeless represent anywhere from one-fourth to more than half of an emergency food program clients; the actual number is just 10 percent. The majority of the homeless population are served by shelters and soup kitchens, not food pantries;
• More than 80 percent of respondents have made some sort of donation to a food pantry, indicating that they are generously aware of the need.
The survey shows that North Texans are highly aware of the hunger issue facing their neighbors, friends, and families. But while a plurality of survey respondents thought that people in the 30-49 age bracket are the ones most likely to need aid from a food pantry on a regular basis, it is actually people over 65.
"Most people picture families with children as the most typical food pantry clients, and they are. What many people don’t realize is that senior citizens who use pantries rely on them more often and for longer periods of time," said Jan Pruitt, president and CEO of the North Texas Food Bank. "A large number of seniors live on Social Security. They may not be able to qualify for government aid, so they turn to food pantries for their meals to stretch their limited and fixed income. As the U.S. population continues to age, feeding hungry seniors will become an even greater challenge for us in years to come."
When it comes to feeding the hungry, 80 percent of North Texans surveyed agree there is no single solution. And that it requires a combination of help from friends, family, food pantries, and state and federal assistance such as SNAP (food stamps), WIC, and school lunch and breakfast programs.
"People tend to think of the hungry around Thanksgiving and Christmas, but the need doesn't diminish after the holidays, said Jim Minge, president and CEO of Texas Trust Credit Union. “Hunger is an everyday issue, and not just for the poor and homeless, which is why we are conducting our Together We Feed More campaign now. We want to be sure that the people we know, work with, and live near don't have to face hunger."
There were more than 1,600 respondents to the survey, which was conducted in January 2013. The survey was conducted via an opt-in email targeting more than 60,000 North Texans, as well as via Facebook. Infographics of the survey results are available here.
Texas Trust has partnered with other businesses, retail establishments, and restaurants to collect donations for the Together We Feed More Campaign. Monetary donations and food collected will be donated to the North Texas Food Bank, which serves more than 90 food assistance agencies in the communities Texas Trust serves.
About North Texas Food Bank
The North Texas Food Bank (NTFB) is a top-ranked nonprofit relief organization which leads the fight against hunger with knowledge-based strategies to distribute donated, purchased, and prepared foods through a network of feeding programs in 13 North Texas counties. NTFB supports the nutritional needs of children, families and seniors through research, education, advocacy and strategic partnerships. In FY 2012, NTFB provided access to more than 47 million nutritious meals. Founded in 1982, the year 2012 marked NTFB’s 30th anniversary. NTFB is a member of Feeding America (feedingamerica.org)
About Texas Trust Credit Union
Texas Trust is one of the largest credit unions in North Texas and the 21st largest in Texas. It has been operating for more than 75 years. As a full-service financial institution, Texas Trust offers checking, savings, mortgages, credit cards, CDs, Money Market accounts, IRAs, and investment and insurance services. Its business services include SBA and conventional loans, electronic payment cards, checking and money market accounts, merchant card processing, online banking, insurance, and the Employee Solutions Network. With 58,000 members and assets of more than $721 million, Texas Trust operates in Dallas, Tarrant, and Henderson counties, as well as parts of Ellis and Johnson counties. Texas Trust has ten branches located in Mansfield, Grand Prairie, Arlington, Cedar Hill, and Athens. For more information, visit www.TexasTrustCU.org. Texas Trust is a federally insured financial institution. Deposits up to $250,000 are insured by the full faith of the federal government through the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).