This year HealthMarkets kicked off its second annual “Help with the Fixings” holiday food drive benefitting the Tarrant Area Food Bank (TAFB). The TAFB is the primary source of donated food for hunger-relief charities and feeding programs in 13 North Texas counties. Here are some facts about people who are served by TAFB Partner Agencies:
- Over three-quarters of the households live at or below the poverty line.
- 1 of 8 people served are 60 or older.
- 1 of 4 children in their service area live in food-insecure households.
- Two-thirds or more of all client households reported choosing between food and medical care, utilities and transportation.
- More than one-third of households reported making choices between food and other living expenses every month.
These statistics surprised me so I had to find out how I could help. As a single mother, I can relate to worrying if I would have been able to provide for my son when he was growing up. There was a food pantry near our home and the thought that they could help me during the tough times brought a peace of mind that is difficult to articulate. It really hit home that the people we help through our food drive aren’t strangers – they may be neighbors or a work colleague. They may be the child sitting next to our sons or daughters in school.
I was really struck by TAFBs mission statement: “Empowering communities to eliminate hunger by providing food, education and resources through innovation and collaboration.” Pooling resources and collaboration is part of HealthMarkets’ essence so naturally I knew that together we could help on a much larger scale than just me.
I spoke with my colleagues in the HealthMarkets’ Compliance department and we decided to sponsor our first company-wide food drive last year. We put up posters and collection boxes throughout our corporate campus and at the end of the drive we delivered almost 700 pounds of food to the TAFB. It was so exciting to be able to provide so much food on our first try!
This year, in addition to collection boxes around the building, we set up a food drive table. The food drive table was a great success with a lot of people coming by to ask questions about TAFB, get information, and drop off their donations. We also collected monetary donations in addition to food items for the TAFB. This year was a huge success and I’m so proud to announce that we delivered almost 300 pounds of food and over $700 in monetary donations. That means that HealthMarkets employees were able to help provide the equivalent of almost 4,000 meals to our neighbors this year! About 1,000 more meals than last year’s food drive.
It’s such a great feeling to work with people who care about those who are less fortunate in our area and to know that we are making a difference in their lives.
If you are interested in supporting the TAFB’s vision of communities where no one has to go hungry, please visit TAFB.org/donate or call (817) 857-7100.