The North Texas Food Bank has issued a call for urgent assistance in meeting its $5 million — or 20 million meals — holiday fundraising goal, officials announced this week.

To date, the organization has raised only about a third — $1.4 million — of its overall goal, which means the food bank needs to raise more than $3.5 million by the end of December to meet increasing community need, officials said.

Officials also noted that while the last week of December is traditionally holiday vacation time for food bank employees, the agency is, for the first time, keeping its doors open to meet unprecedented demand and allow member agencies, such as Resource Center Dallas’ food pantry for people impacted by HIV/AIDS, to pick up food.

Food Bank officials said member agencies are struggling to meet the rising need from those who continue to face financial shortfalls due to the recession. They said member agencies are seeing an average 36 percent increase in first-time clients, and some food pantries are having to turn people away.

Food Bank officials suggest several ways to help, including making a general donation, making a donation instead of having a holiday party, giving a donation in memory of someone or hosting a virtual food drive. More information and other suggestions for giving can be found online at

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 18, 2009.

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