Impacting These Areas
At United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, we lead and invest in a variety of programs that impact hunger and homelessness, including:
Southern Dallas Thrives: This partnership with the PepsiCo Foundation and Frito-Lay North America focuses on education, income and health simultaneously to improve people’s lives in the southern Dallas community. One component of the program involves providing families with nutritious meals in the city’s largest food desert. In 2020, during the height of the pandemic crisis, Southern Dallas Thrives served more than 60,000 meals in collaboration with PepsiCo’s Food for Good, while also providing food resources to more than 2,500 community residents.
Goodr: Southern Dallas Thrives was also instrumental in the Dallas launch of Atlanta-based Goodr. In collaboration with State Fair of Texas and Communities Foundation of Texas, Southern Dallas Thrives spearheaded this effort to increase food access to southern Dallas families. A food distribution pilot successfully launched in April 2021, serving 250 families with 10,000 meals during a pop-up grocery store at Fair Park, as well as 320 families with 12,800 meals via home deliveries. Following the success of the project, the program will grow throughout 2022, providing an estimated 3,200 southern Dallas families with food resources.
North Texas Summer and Supper Council: Created by United Way of Metropolitan Dallas and the North Texas Hunger Initiative, North Texas Summer & Supper Council is a program designed to improve summer meal programming for children who qualify for free or reduced-price meals during the school year. The council helps local meal providers raise awareness, increase meal sites and more effectively address child hunger in our community. In 2020, the program helped local meal providers serve more than 10 million meals in Dallas and Collin Counties, impacting up to 70,000 children.
Community Impact grants: We also support and invest in community partners that fight food insecurity in North Texas. In our last fiscal year (July 2020 to June 2021), these partners provided more than 1.7 million prepared meals, served 424,000 clients who received food pantry services and, incredibly, distributed more than 28 million pounds of food.
Our work in housing stability spans a continuum of services, including:
- Supporting the creation of affordable housing
- Eviction prevention
- Assisting people experiencing homelessness so they can get housed as quickly as possible
Before the pandemic, United Way and our Community Impact partners were assisting thousands of North Texans every year with emergency shelter, transitional housing and other services. This work includes providing grants to fund a program called FUSE, or Frequent Users Systems Engagement, through which caseworkers team up with the county hospital and jail to efficiently move people experiencing homelessness into housing.
When COVID-19 and the resulting economic crisis hit, tens of thousands of our neighbors were suddenly at risk of eviction. In response, we quickly launched the Dallas Rental Assistance Collaborative (DRAC), which provides rental and utility assistance to ensure more people can stay in their homes. Since its formation, DRAC has provided more than 4,200 households with more than $14.4 million in rental and utility assistance.
In addition to these and other programs, our social innovation initiatives give us ongoing opportunities to identify, elevate and activate social entrepreneurs who are working to end hunger and homelessness. For example, our 2021-2022 Social Innovation Accelerator fellows include:
- Aspiratia Village, a venture by Ark of Hope Inc., which seeks to end homelessness by providing chronically homeless individuals immediate access to safe, permanent housing and the opportunity to engage in collaborative community services.
- FEED Oak Cliff, a nonprofit whose Transformative Community Market seeks to lift the physical, financial and entrepreneurial profile of food desert residents.