Faces Behind Hunger

This Site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

I had the opportunity last week to do something a little different. I was asked me to participate in the ConAgra Foods Child Hunger Ends Here #FacesBehindHunger campaign which creates awareness around food insecurity and child hunger in America. I had the chance to interview a Hunger Hero who works hard in her community to make a difference and bless the lives of others. I traveled from Austin to South Dallas to visit a community pantry to see how the process worked, and I was truly humbled by the experience. I was asked to participate in the #FacesBehindHunger campaign, sponsored by ConAgra Foods, and thought I’ve been compensated, all opinions are my own.

Our Community Pantry in South Dallas

Upon my arrival at Our Community Pantry in Dallas, I was immediately greeted by Sara Gorath, the manager of community outreach at the pantry.  This particular location has only been open less than a year by the North Texas Food Bank. This pantry is modeled after a grocery store, where items are selected from a dietician’s suggestions in order to provide more healthy options, and also has fresh produce.

I got to meet this little guy who was shopping with his grandmother. He was happy to participate, though I never heard him utter a sound. He listened to my instructions of “show me the oranges” or “push the cart towards your grandma” and had wide eyes when I showed him the pictures I took of him.


The South Dallas community pantry shopping trips are by appointment only, and only service 3 zip codes. It is not for the homeless, but for those with a lower income, struggling to put food on the table. Many of the people that come are grandparents taking care of their grandchildren, and generally walk there.

When I stepped into the 1500 square foot facility, I wondered if I was just in the first room. I didn’t realize this was considered “big” for a pantry, I was expecting more of a grocery store type. But when Sara walked me to their former pantry, the one used 10 months ago, I got a better understanding of what big meant.

Before this pantry was open last August, the former pantry was more like a closet. 200 people would lines up for hours (in the Texas heat), not knowing what would be handed to them in a box, and there was a possibility they would run out before it became their turn in line, too. There was nothing fresh, all canned, that could be sustained for hours outside.

former pantry

Now I got it. Now, I understood why the new space is considered big. THIS former pantry is quite small.

Since this new pantry’s opening, it services approximately 700 people. Sara and her mostly volunteer staff meets with them, and assesses their needs together. When the clients come for their groceries, 2 times a month, they are assisted by a volunteer who helps them shop, and can fill their carts up to 30 pounds per person in the household.

Sara explained to me that by working with a nutritionist, they are better able to help their clients select more healthy options that are present in the store, and not be overwhelmed by all of the non-healthy stuff while there shopping. This helps the customers better understand what IS healthy since they may not know.

food pantry fresh options

Fresh eggs, meat, and produce are options never even imagined with the old food pantry, and a blessing in this new structure. The delightful artistry on the walls, makes this a happy place to visit.

Food insecurity is more of a problem in America that I fully realized. One-in-five children in the United States don’t know where their next meal is coming from, and nearly 16 million children in the U.S. are food insecure–meaning they don’t know how long the food hey have will last, or whether their family will have resources to buy more. Food insecurity can lead to greater obstacles for children, such as having difficulty concentrating in school, lacking energy, and developing nutritional deficiencies. It can also be from inaccurate information about the types of food they are consuming. Children do not have to be starving to be food insecure.

I loved hearing from Sara that helping her clients learn how to better fuel their bodies is a big part of the process. Education.  Those in this community don’t often have transportation, and the nearest grocery store is over a mile away, leaving them to convenient store shelves and fast food as a poor option.

With signs in each section, it helps the shoppers better gauge how much of each item they should take.

Our Community Pantry south Dallas

It was so great to talk to Sara, and hear all about what’s on the horizon for the pantry, such as working on a garden to provide more fresh produce options.

community pantry

{Manager of Our Community Pantry in South Dallas, Sara}

This little guy was such a great helper!

pushing the cart

So how can you get involved and help???

  1. Sara says they are always in need of volunteers at food pantries across the nation. To function smoothly, they need 7 volunteers, they have managed with just 4 volunteers before, but it was tricky.
  2. Canned food drives really do help. Those collected cans generally go to a larger food bank, and that is where the pantry shops from for their food.
  3. Right now, you can simply purchase food from ConAgra Foods at your local grocery store, and look for the red push pin with code to help feed America.

 ConAgra Foods’ Child Hunger Ends Here program

  • This year, ConAgra Foods’ Child Hunger Ends Here program wants to fight child hunger in America by reaching their 2015 goal of donating 5 million meals to Feeding America. If you want to help with that goal, look for the red pushpin, and locate the code found on the specially-marked ConAgra Foods products.
  • For each 8-digit code entered at www.ChildHungerEndsHere.com, ConAgra Foods will donate the monetary equivalents of one meal to Feeding America. (One code=One meal to Feeding America)
  • Not all ConAgra Foods products with a red push pin will contain a code. It needs to have a red push pin AND an 8-digit code.

ConAgra Foods

Do you already buy some of these ConAgra Foods brands? Check the labels for the red push pin and code!  Then go to THIS SITE and enter in the code, simple!

ConAgra Foods brands

It was a pleasure to meet this little guy, and understand more about how the community pantry operates in South Dallas. It touched my heart, when I asked Sara what drives her motivation, and she stated simply through glossy eyes, “I’m taking care of my friends.”

food pantry

Sara truly is taking care of what have become her friends, in this hands-on, personal process, and I can see from those that come to shop at Our Community Pantry, consider her a friend as well.

*I was asked to participate in the #FacesBehindHunger campaign, sponsored by ConAgra Foods, and thought I’ve been compensated, all opinions are my own.

Privacy Policy