September 7, 2012
DALLAS (SMU) – SMU’s students, faculty and staff returning to campus this fall will have a unique opportunity to fight regional hunger through a new partnership with the North Texas Food Bank.
The “Stampede Against Hunger” will build on SMU’s strong support for NTFB, connecting campus groups already working with the food bank, as well as encouraging new types of participation for the campus and alumni community. The “Stampede” is NTFB’s first university partnership.
“The work of the North Texas Food Bank is a vital service to hundreds of thousands of individuals and families in our community. SMU is always proud to partner with the food bank and especially during its 30th anniversary this year,” SMU President R. Gerald Turner said.
In the coming year, the SMU community will have the opportunity to support the food bank through a variety of planned activities and will be challenged to develop others. For example, members of the men’s and women’s SMU basketball teams will participate in a “sort-a-thon” Sept. 6 from 7-10 p.m. at the organization’s distribution center in southwest Dallas. In November, the campus community and local alumni will join a brown bag campaign that challenges students to donate to NTFB the cost of the lunch they would have otherwise purchased and will participate in a food bank service day.
"SMU has a long history of involvement with the North Texas Food Bank. As the University celebrates its 100th year and we celebrate our 30th, we are leveraging our combined voices to promote awareness for the fight against hunger in North Texas," said Jan Pruitt, president and CEO of the North Texas Food Bank.
"Hunger is unacceptable in our communities, classrooms and the workplace. When a child is hungry, they cannot achieve success in the classroom. With SMU around our table, we know awareness and change will happen. With the expertise, passion and commitment-to-community that defines SMU, all things are possible," Pruitt said.
SMU support for the food bank has ranged from traditional food drives and volunteer work in the NTFB distribution center, to research for the food bank conducted by students in the Cox School of Business and the Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering. Faculty and students from SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development volunteer regularly in NTFB nutrition courses and SMU’s Fondren Library organized a “Food for Fines” drive in November, offering to waive library fines in exchange for donations of non-perishable food items. SMU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Paul Ludden and his staff volunteer regularly to box and sort donations at the NTFB, and SMU’s Office for Legal Affairs organized its first team of volunteers for work at the distribution center this summer.
The North Texas Food Bank is a nonprofit social benefit organization that distributes donated, purchased and prepared foods through a network of 340 Member Agencies and 1,100 feeding locations in 13 North Texas counties. NTFB supports the nutritional needs of children, families and seniors through research, education, advocacy and strategic partnerships. In FY 2011, NTFB provided access to nearly 47 million nutritious meals. Founded in 1982, NTFB is a member of Feeding America (feedingamerica.org).
While NTFB provides access to nearly 130,000 nutritious meals a day in North Texas, there is a need for nearly 300,000 meals a day to feed hungry people in the region, enough to fill the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington six times to capacity.
SMU's commitment to public service learning and engagement for its students is reflected in academic courses with a required service learning component and in the student volunteer projects of campus organizations. More than 2,500 SMU students contribute more than 200,000 hours of public service each year, most of which benefits Dallas and the surrounding region.
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Kim Cobb, SMU News and Communications
Jennifer Bussell, North Texas Food Bank