As you are aware, we - along with countless other nonprofits - are daily assessing and managing the impact of COVID-19 on our critical services. Aunt Bette's Community Pantry is one of the few pantries still operating during this coronavirus pandemic.
In an effort to safeguard our staff, volunteers and clients, we have modified our operations in accordance with current social distancing guidelines. Our pantry has migrated to a "low touch" assembly and distribution model where we are providing pre-packaged boxes of staple foods for curbside distribution to our clients. This new temporary model enables us to reduce the number of individuals needed to serve our clients on a daily basis and to utilize a consistent daily workforce in lieu of our traditional volunteer model. The efficiency of the process allows us to condense our client appointments to Mondays and Tuesdays beginning the week of April 6th, while still enabling us to serve an increasing number of neighbors in need We prayerfully look forward to resuming our client choice shopping model and seeing you, our faithful volunteers, once again. We will notify you once our operations return to normal or if we become aware of an opportunity for you to serve our community in a different capacity. May God bless you and keep you and your families in good health.
Thank you for your support.
Aunt Bette's community pantry
A 2017 Healthy Food Dallas report found that almost 20% of the Dallas County population faces food insecurity, lacking transportation and affordable access to nutritionally balanced food, including fruit and vegetables. The South Dallas community St. Philip’s calls home is a designated food desert. A high concentration of those vulnerable to hunger reside in St. Philip’s key Community Center service areas – 75215, 75210, and 75203. Additionally, South Dallas boasts a poverty rate higher than 40% and a 20% unemployment rate, further contributing to poor health outcomes for many residents, such as obesity, diabetes and other diet-related health problems.
St. Philip’s established a food pantry on its campus over a decade ago in an effort to expand its hunger programming reach to include more families and children. By 2013, the pantry, which operated out of a small space on St. Philip’s campus, shared with the Meals on Wheels Depot, was serving up to 200 individuals a month. Clients lined up outside the facility to receive pre-bagged canned goods and very little fresh food twice a month that St. Philip’s secured through North Texas Food Bank, its own food drives, and a community garden. St. Philip’s was meeting a need but there was little dignity to this process for clients.
The establishment of Our Community Pantry in 2015, was a direct result of an unprecedented collaboration between city, corporate, and non-profit entities, including St. Philip’s, North Texas Food Bank, In the City for Good, and the City of Dallas, provided an opportunity to revolutionize the way Hunger is addressed in South Dallas, and beyond. The food pantry operates as a client-choice pantry, much like a grocery store, and currently serves over 650 households, 1,500 individuals, and distributes 700,000 pounds of food annually!
In July 2019, the operation and management of Our Community Pantry fully transitioned to St. Philip’s School & Community Center. This is exciting news, made even more so by the continuation of our wonderful partnership with North Texas Food Bank. In September, the food pantry was renamed Aunt Bette’s Community Pantry in honor of a life-long steward of service. In 1989, Bette Perot volunteered with St. Philip’s’ very first food pantry which operated out of a small storage room at the time. When Mrs. Perot began her volunteer service, she recognized the space was inadequate and thus she purchased shelving that still exists in this location today, now utilized solely by St. Philip’s MEALS ON WHEELS program. Bette Perot has spent her life addressing hunger in our communities and has consistently supported organizations who do the same. In honor of her birthday this year, the Perot family funded the renaming of Our Community Pantry in their Aunt Bette’s honor.