Dallas, May 21, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Jan Pruitt, the late, hunger-fighting visionary best known for her decade long tenure as CEO of the North Texas Food Bank, was recognized for her significant contributions in the area of hunger relief at the grand opening of the Jan Pruitt Community Pantry in Lancaster, Texas.

Local elected officials, non-profit and business leaders and a supportive community came together at the Lancaster Community Outreach, where Pruitt was executive director prior to joining the North Texas Food Bank in 1997. While there, she worked to provide food assistance to hungry neighbors in Lancaster and the surrounding communities. The center closed several years ago, but was revived when the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of North Texas was gifted the property in 2016 as part of the St. Vincent Campus initiative. After Jan Pruitt’s passing in January of 2017, the board at the North Texas Food Bank raised the funds for the naming rights to the pantry, honoring NTFB’s longtime CEO. Thus, the new Jan Pruitt Community Pantry was named in honor of her many contributions in the area of hunger relief locally and at the national level through her work with Feeding America.

“It is an honor for St. Vincent de Paul of North Texas to be a part of this transformational initiative” said Michael Pazzaglini, Executive Director of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of North Texas. “In addition to housing the Jan Pruitt Community Pantry, this site will also host a variety of programs and future partnerships that will pioneer systemic change meant to enrich the lives of our neighbors here in Lancaster and the surrounding region.”

The new pantry came to life thanks to a collaboration between The Society of St. Vincent de Paul of North Texas (SVdP), Catholic Charities Dallas and the North Texas Food Bank. In an effort to help close the hunger gap in North Texas, the Food Bank was working to identify areas of need across their service area with a goal of expanding capacity within their feeding network thanks to funds raised via their capital campaign, Stop Hunger Build Hope. The non-profits solidified a partnership whereby SVdP would provide the space for the pantry, the North Texas Food Bank would provide the funds to renovate the pantry and stock it with food, and Catholic Charities Dallas would manage the operations of the pantry eventually subsidizing the effort.

“Jan Pruitt was a visionary; a trailblazer - thanks to her dedication to the cause, millions of hungry North Texans had food on the table,” said Trisha Cunningham, President and CEO of the North Texas Food Bank. “When I took the helm at NTFB last year, two things were clear: our organization would always strive to put healthy food on the table, and we would work to strengthen partnerships with local nonprofits to ensure that together we would meet the needs for hunger relief and social services for our neighbors in need. I am proud of what we have built alongside Catholic Charities Dallas and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of North Texas, and I want to thank our Board of Directors for believing in this vision of a hunger-free, healthy North Texas and honoring Jan in this meaningful way.”

The organizations set lofty goals for the Jan Pruitt Community Pantry, including providing neighbors inneed with more than one million pounds of nutritious foods per year by the third year of operation,serving more than 1,000 families in need. This will help toward the Food Bank’s broader strategic goal ofproviding access to 92 million meals by 2025 by helping the more than 800,000 people in North Texaswho don’t know where their next nutritious meal is coming from.

“The team at Catholic Charites Dallas worked alongside the North Texas Food Bank for many years as aPartner Agency,” said Dave Woodyard, CEO of Catholic Charities Dallas. “Supporting the operations ofthe Jan Pruitt Community Pantry is exciting because we will be able to see the incredible impact thataccess to healthy foods will have in the community. It is our shared hope that this partnership will serveas a model both here locally as well as nationally. It is clear that by working together, we can accomplishso much.”

About the Society of St. Vincent de Paul North Texas
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) is a faith-based volunteer organization that offers direct aid tothose in need across nine counties in North Texas. The Society provides short-term financial, materialand emotional support. People are empowered to reach the goal of self-sufficiency through advocacy,education and referrals. Through systemic change, the Society promotes dignity, alleviates suffering anddistress, and addresses the conditions that cause the person to need assistance.The Society of St. Vincent de Paul was formed by a handful of university students in Paris, France in1833. Today, the Society can be found in 150 countries on 5 continents with over 900,000 women andmen carrying on the tradition of performing works of charity for those in need. The first SVdP presencein Dallas began in 1954. Today, SVdP North Texas has grown to 850 volunteer members throughout thenine North Texas counties. In FY 2017, SVdP North Texas served over 50,000 people in our community.

About Catholic Charities Dallas
For more than 127 years, Catholic Charities Dallas has helped the poor and most vulnerable in four coremission areas: strengthening families, alleviating hunger, preventing homelessness, and welcoming thestranger; and calls the community to action. Catholic Charities Dallas serves more than 38,000individuals each year, regardless of their faith. In addition, more than 4,125 people volunteer more than40,000 hours each year. Our services provide assistance to families in need throughout the nine countiesthat make up the Diocese of Dallas: Dallas, Collin, Ellis, Fannin, Grayson, Hunt, Kaufman, Navarro andRockwall.

About the North Texas Food Bank
North Texas Food Bank (NTFB) is a top-ranked nonprofit hunger-relief organization with its primarydistribution center in Southwest Dallas and administrative headquarters located in the Dallas FarmersMarket. Each day, NTFB provides access to more than 190,000 meals for hungry children, seniors, andfamilies through a network of more than 1,000 programs and more than 200 Partner Agencies. In fiscalyear 2017, NTFB provided access to almost 70 million nutritious meals. While NTFB is making steadyprogress toward closing the hunger gap, much work remains to be done to reach the organization's 10-year goal of providing 92 million nutritious meals annually by 2025.

NTFB is a member of Feeding America, a national hunger relief organization.

Anna Kurian
North Texas Food Bank 

Kate Rose Marquez
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul of North Texas

Anna Kurian