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Tarrant Area Food Bank faces deficit, looks to Hispanic churches for solutions

Cars line up to receive food on Aug. 11, 2022, at the New Life Christian Fellowship Church of God in Christ.
Cristian ArguetaSoto
Fort Worth Report
Cars line up to receive food on Aug. 11, 2022, at the New Life Christian Fellowship Church of God in Christ.

Amid high demand for food assistance and low supply levels looming into the summer, the Tarrant Area Food Bank tapped Spanish-speaking churches for help.

Tarrant Area Food Bank partnered with Radio Luz, a faith-based radio station in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, to host the Unidos en la Míssíon luncheon. The partners invited 90 pastors to discuss how churches and the food bank can work together to address food insecurity among communities surrounding Spanish-speaking churches.

The event comes at a time when Texas leads the nation in food insecurity, according to Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap study. The data shows 1 in 5 Latinos experience food insecurity. Over a third of Tarrant County residents are Latino, according to U.S. Census data.

The study could be “underestimating the true need” for food, because the biannual study uses data from 2022, said Jared Williams, vice president of government and external relations for the food bank.

“That doesn’t really give us a point in time right now,” Williams said. “The demand could be higher than that.

The food bank is experiencing a food deficit and has been warning people it may not have enough supplies to feed families in need over the summer. Rising living costs and population growth are factors to consider, said Tarrant Area Food Bank CEO Julie Butner.

“People are coming to us. They’re employed, they’re working, but they can’t afford the rent. They can’t afford the food costs. They can’t afford child care costs. It’s just really shocking,” Butner said.

Congregants in Spanish-speaking churches could also play a part in the solution, said Yary Sidney with Radio Luz.

Hispanic congregations can be a source of food donations or financial support. Ministry groups can also donate their time by volunteering at the food bank, she said.

Martha Diaz is a pastor at Iglesia Pentecostes Valor y Fe in east Fort Worth and has lived in the area for 40 years.

Diaz said she attended Monday’s event to reunite with other Hispanic pastors in Fort Worth and to learn how her church can be a place that offers healthy food options to those in need.

“I think it would be a blessing for those in my community,” Diaz said. “It would be very beneficial to them (congregants) if they involved themselves in receiving these benefits as well as helping others”

Marissa Greene is a Report for America corps member, covering faith for the Fort Worth Report. You can contact her at or @marissaygreene. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

This article first appeared on Fort Worth Report and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.