Dallas, Texas--In the weeks immediately following pandemic closures across North Texas, Minnie's Food Pantry in Plano saw a 39% uptick in clientele.
"Minnie's Food Pantry has witnessed firsthand the severity of the coronavirus and the detrimental impact it has on our communities, even those individuals who may not come in contact with the disease directly," the nonprofit organization wrote on its blog, citing the impact of decreased hours and wages, school closures and food shortages. "The need for supplemental assistance is more vital now than ever."
Highland Springs, the Erickson Living managed senior living community in North Texas, has been a longtime friend of Minnie's Food Pantry, which was founded in 2008 by Cheryl Jackson and has provided over 11 million meals in the past 12 years.
"Highland Springs has had a relationship with Minnie's Food Pantry for many years," says Executive Director Matt Neville. "We've had several staff outings to volunteer at Minnie's, and I know some residents have also volunteered there. It's quite the operation, and Minnie's does an incredible job of supporting those in need in North Texas."
More than enough
As part of Highland Springs' safer-at-home initiatives throughout the pandemic, staff members delivered meals and snacks to the community's 1,100 residents as they remained safely in their apartment homes. The abundance of food created a surplus of snacks, which prompted residents to redirect the prepackaged items to those who needed them most.
"The credit for this idea goes to the residents," says Varun Kakar, Highland Springs' Director of Dining Services. "They donated a variety of snacks back to us, including individual cereal boxes, assorted chips, fruit cups, Pop Tarts, oatmeal packets and Crystal Light lemonade."
Help where it's needed
Thanks to the generosity of residents, Highland Springs delivered 19,913 prepackaged snacks to Minnie's Food Pantry. Departments across the community teamed up to assist with the donation. The dining services team organized, sorted, loaded and unloaded the snacks. Jennifer Kouba from transportation delivered the snacks to Minnie's Food Pantry. The donation came at a fortuitous time, as the food pantry was serving over 15,000 families that week.
"The timing of the delivery worked out really well," says Kakar. "Minnie's was boxing items up to feed a group of 500 people, and they didn't have any snacks to give them. They were happy to receive the donation.
Written by Sara Martin
About Highland Springs: Highland Springs, one of 20 continuing care retirement communities developed and managed by Erickson Living®, is situated on a scenic 89-acre campus in North Dallas, Texas. The not-for-profit community of more than 1,150 residents and 520 employees is governed by its own board of directors, affiliated with National Senior Campuses, who provide independent financial and operational oversight of Highland Springs. Additional information can be found at http://highlandspringscommunity.com.