Contact: Ann Hatch or Morgan Christianahatch@dcccd.edu; 214-378-1819
For immediate release — March 8, 2019
(DALLAS) — Anyone who’s tried to concentrate on an empty stomach knows what it’s like to be “hangry” — that irritable feeling of hunger that increases the longer you go between meals. The experience of being “food insecure,” or lacking consistent access to nutritional foods, goes beyond occasional hunger. It’s an all-too-common reality at college campuses across the country.
On Tuesday, March 19, the Dallas County Community College District will showcase its latest effort to help students and community members who face food insecurity when it unveils a new mobile food truck in partnership with the North Texas Food Bank and H-E-B/Central Market. The food truck will sport logos for all three partners during an unveiling ceremony at Brookhaven College.
The new, branded food truck will visit Brookhaven from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. outside Buildings M and P. Fresh fruits, vegetables and other items will be available for pickup. Brookhaven College is located at 3939 Valley View Drive in Farmers Branch.
Dr. Joe May, DCCCD’s chancellor, will discuss districtwide efforts to battle food insecurity as part of a program that begins at 10:45 a.m. Mabrie Jackson, director of public affairs at H-E-B/Central Market, and Trisha Cunningham, president and CEO of the North Texas Food Bank, also will speak. Cupcakes and popcorn will be available to snack on, and Brookhaven work-study students will lead tours of their campus food pantry.
Jennifer Allen is a history instructor who coordinates the pantry, called “The Cave,” at Brookhaven. Along with regular volunteers, she will help distribute items from the food truck. Her motivation to get involved comes from her own experience facing food insecurity when she first started teaching — and from her role in the classroom today.
“I have not forgotten what it feels like to look at a bank account that does not cover basic needs,” Allen said. “I had to pocket extra food at faculty meetings, skip meals and permanently borrow paper products from work. And I also want my students to succeed. Many people in our community are doing all they can to work, attend classes and be successful. If they cannot eat, they will sacrifice knowledge for food.”
Brookhaven’s food pantry is among the most established of DCCCD’s campus food pantries; it started as a service learning project. Then the pantry found a permanent home with regular hours in the K Building with the help of volunteers and work-study students. All other DCCCD colleges are setting up their own pantries, an effort that began in the fall of 2017 with the help of the North Texas Food Bank.
The new food truck will take over for NTFB’s mobile food pantry, which had been visiting the district’s colleges to fill gaps in what each campus could provide, particularly perishable items. DCCCD’s colleges also are setting up on-site assistance to help students apply for SNAP and other social service benefits. During fiscal year 2018, the North Texas Food Bank and DCCCD distributed a total of 186,656 meals — or more than 167,000 pounds of food.
Fundraising efforts, including a 5K run honoring first responders, a crowdfunding campaign and an employee giving campaign, have helped support DCCCD’s initiatives to fight food insecurity. Nearly $80,000 has been raised so far.
“All of our colleges have really come through for their students,” said Pyeper Wilkins, chief advancement officer and executive director of the DCCCD Foundation. "Many of them are taking food donations and doing food drives constantly.”
Wilkins was instrumental in launching DCCCD’s partnership with the North Texas Food Bank.
“Our entire district participated in a student experience survey through the University of Wisconsin’s HOPE Lab in 2016,” Wilkins said. “When we saw the results, we knew that we needed to do something. Students had no access to healthy food, were skipping meals or were missing meals because they couldn’t afford it. Potentially, some of them could drop out because they needed to get a job to feed their family.”
The HOPE study — which examined barriers to student success at American community colleges — showed that 64 percent of DCCCD students reported “marginal or worse food security” during the 30-day period before they took the survey. Twenty-seven percent reported very low food security, which reflects “multiple indications of reduced food intake and disrupted eating patterns due to inadequate resources for food.”
More recently, statistics provided by DCCCD’s Data Depot, which does systemic analytics, showed that the district had almost 22,000 food-insecure students across its seven colleges in spring 2018.
For more information, contact Valerie Cavazos, marketing director for the DCCCD Foundation, at
firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 214-378-1592.
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Anyone can take advantage of food bank or food pantry resources at DCCCD’s seven colleges. When clients visit the mobile food truck, they are asked to provide their name and date of birth, and the number of people in their household. Food truck workers do not share this information with anyone, and they do not verify proof of need, income or immigration status. They only use data to track how many people receive help. The North Texas Food Bank also uses the information to estimate how much food should be delivered to each college.
On-site location: The Cave, room K241
The mobile food truck will visit the following days and times between the M and P buildings:
SNAP assistance available
The Cave also stocks some basic toiletries, baby food and diapers.
On-site location: Sundance Market, room C104M (inside CVC Library)
Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
The mobile food truck will visit the following days and times at the Flagpole Circle:
On-site location in process of opening
The mobile food truck will visit the following days and times in Parking Lot 8 by the G Building:
SNAP assistance coming soon
On-site location: Chaparral Food Pantry, room A-104
Hours: MTWRF, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
The mobile food truck will visit the following days and times at the loading dock on Elm Street:
The mobile food truck will begin visiting El Centro’s West Campus next month.
On-site location: Feed the Lions, room S1016 (in the Student Services Building)
The mobile food truck will visit the following days and times in the West Parking Lot in front of the S Building off Duncanville Road:
On-site location: Blazer Student Store, room A223 (Central Campus)
Hours: MTWRF, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. (and W 5-7:30 p.m.)
The mobile food truck will be coming soon to North Lake College.
The Blazer Student Store also stocks donated clothes, toiletries, toys and household goods. Transactions in the store are in Blazer Bucks only, which students may receive from instructors for good classwork; by trading in nonperishable food and clothing donations (10 at a time); by requesting Blazer Bucks from Student Life or Counseling Services; or by purchasing Blazer Bucks at the Cashier’s Office.
On-site location: room E017 (in El Paso Hall, Main Campus)
If someone needs service during other hours, stop by the Office of Student Life (room E040) to have the pantry opened.
The mobile food truck will visit the following days and times near the East breezeway between Fannin Hall and Lavaca Hall:
The mobile food truck also visits Richland College’s campuses in Garland and South Dallas.