Arlington is the heart of the DFW Metroplex; placed between two giants, it gets plenty of traffic and sports attention but perhaps it is being overlooked when it comes to basic needs.
Hunger, poverty, and homelessness remain a concern for many citizens in Arlington. According to the census bureau, 21% of Arlington residents live below the poverty level. The Tarrant County Homeless Coalition reports there are well over 2,000 people, including nearly 600 children (under 17), that are currently homeless in our community. Almost 10% of Arlington seniors live in poverty. Our food insecure seniors are at increased risk for chronic health conditions such as depression, heart attack, asthma and congestive heart failure.
68% of AISD students qualified for reduced and/or free lunch in 2015. According to the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, children who do not receive what they need for strong healthy brain development during early childhood may never recover their lost potential for cognitive growth. These children need our resources whether that be time, money, contacts, or just concern, we are here to give that to them.
As the largest and only client choice food pantry in the area, we help stabilize families by providing for their basic need of food. The Waste Not Want Not Project recommendations show that the average community in America today can essentially double its capacity to address its hunger problem by switching from giving out standardized food boxes to letting clients pick out their own food. We believe using this model allows us to assist more families.
Last year Arlington Charities was able to provide a safety net for over 55,000. While our service area covers the entire city of Arlington and all those in AISD, many of our clients come from the hardest hit areas of our community. We strive to provide access to nutritious foods for our neighbors in need, including fresh produce and frozen protein (meat, fish, poultry). Through our partnerships with the Tarrant Area Food Bank and other local agencies, we attempt to help clients navigate their way to self-sufficiency.
Everyone deserves food and the chance to reach for the American dream. Together, that is what we are doing with North Texas Giving Day. So here’s to YOU North Texans! You are the reason we are proud to call this area our home.