The Northwest Community Food Market team was awarded one of the Chancellor’s Employee Excellence Awards in September. The team, which includes Rahma Aboutaj, Lisa Benedetti, Stanley Burris, Alma Castoreno, Lourdes Davenport, Mike Esquivel, Curtis Fukuchi, Michelle Gasca, Nancy Gutierrez, Ryan Ferguson, Kenneth Lee, Lourdes Ramboa and Kristi Toler, work to ensure that the monthly event goes off without a hitch.
The market started at the Back2School Bash in 2017. To prepare for the project, the market team met regularly with representatives from Community Link to plan an effective and efficient mobile food pantry at TCC Northwest. In the year since, the market has convened each month to offer fresh produce and protein to community members in need. Each month, one to two trucks full of food from Community Link and the Tarrant Area Food Bank arrive at TCC Northwest. From there, volunteers work to unload the food onto tables. On average, each market serves close to 300 families and distributes about 19,000 pounds of food. Over the course of the last year, the market served more than 3,000 families and distributed more than 214,000 pounds of food. Based on Community Link’s estimates, that food reached more than 10,000 people.
The team’s reach extends even beyond the monthly markets. The market joined the Northwest Campus Back2School Bash in August. TCC Northwest partners with Community Link, Northwest YMCA and the Effie Center each year to plan the event, which helps families in need. In addition to the Food Market, the event also provides school supplies, backpacks, haircuts, eye exams and dental checkups. More than 4,000 people attended this year’s Back2School bash, where volunteers distributed 2,400 backpacks.
The Community Food Market has also served as a lab for service learning projects in Logistics and Supply Chain Management as well as Small Business and Entrepreneurship.