DALLAS — Some nonprofit organizations in North Texas are restructuring their programs in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
For Oak Cliff is among the agencies adding additional services in order to meet the needs of their clients and the greater community.
On any given Wednesday, staff and volunteers are hard at work at the For Oak Cliff community center in Glendale Shopping Center. They spend hours loading hundreds of cars with boxes of fresh produce.
”The pandemic has definitely changed the way we approach our work. We have to be flexible and nimble,” explained Xavier Henderson, Co-Founder and Director of Strategy with For Oak Cliff.
The grassroots-based nonprofit is known for helping youth, adults, and families with a variety of resources. The organization offers GED classes, workforce training, and academic enrichment for students, among other programs.
”We see folks of all ages,” Henderson said.
The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing For Oak Cliff to pivot some of its priorities. The organization is now adding food insecurity among issues it’s addressing.
"We administered a community care survey to better understand the needs of our neighborhood and our ZIP code," Henderson said. "A big finding in the survey was that folks needed food."
Every Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. For Oak Cliff staffers meet to distribute boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables, and sometimes dairy, to hundreds of families. The group serves as many as 1,400 people for some weeks.
"Where we are situated in Oak Cliff, we were already impacted by systemic oppression, right. The issue of COVID has really just exasperated the issues that we were already experiencing in Oak Cliff," Henderson said.
Anyone can come to the weekly food distribution events. No one is turned away. Staff said the reality is many families are still hurting financially.
”Folks either have their hours cut, or furloughed, or just lost their job altogether,” Henderson added.
The food distribution program is, yet, another community effort to meet the needs of its neighbors.
For more information about For Oak Cliff, its programs, and the weekly food distribution, you can visit https://foroakcliff.org.