Starting this week, Denton County food pantries are receiving fresh fruits and vegetables as part of a new project launched by the Denton County Commissioners Court.
The project, “Feeding Denton County,” involves a local grower working with other farms in the area to provide a variety of produce carefully packed in 25-pound boxes and delivered directly to local food pantries each week, according to a news release from the county.
The Commissioners Court approved an agreement with Denton Creek Farm Inc. to provide up to 3,000 boxes per week at a cost of $37 per box now through Dec. 30. The Court had earlier earmarked $10 million of the $147 million received by Denton County from the U.S. Department of the Treasury as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act to ensure all food needs across Denton County were covered.
“In recent months, we have learned from our local food pantries that fresh fruits and vegetables were not always readily available for our residents in need,” said Precinct 3 Commissioner Bobbie Mitchell. “”Feeding Denton County’ is one way that we can ensure our residents have nutritious meals available for them and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Keith and Kassandra Copp, owners of Denton Creek Farm, purchase produce from local and regional growers when it is available as well as from farms around the U.S. as needed to create a box with between 10 to 13 different varieties of fruits and vegetables.
“We want to make sure our Denton County farms are feeding people locally,” said Denton County Judge Andy Eads. “This program not only provides nutritional food to families who need it but also helps support our local growers and keeps people employed.”
On Monday, the Copps delivered the first boxes to local food pantries. In the first week of “Feeding Denton County,” an estimated 785 boxes were delivered.
“We expect to deliver more boxes as need grows and supply additional food pantries as they come back online,” said Keith Copp, who has grown produce locally since 2005. The family also owns D-Bar Farm in Ponder and operates a farm stand near the border of Denton and Wise counties.
As part of the $10 million set aside for food, Commissioners also have provided $1.3 million to local non-profit organizations to purchase food, increase refrigeration and acquire refrigerated trucks to ensure enough food is available. Denton County non-profit organizations have seen a 40-60% increase in demand for food since March.
“Our mission is to make sure no one in Denton County goes without food during this pandemic,” Commissioner Mitchell said. “No individual should go to bed hungry in this county.”
Local nonprofit food pantries and pantries at churches are welcome to contact Denton County at 940-349-4672 to learn more about the program and sign up to receive boxes of fresh produce to serve Denton County residents in need.