Over the last three years, BUILD awardees have been working toward addressing social determinants of health and advancing health equity in their communities. To commemorate the end of our third cohort and spotlight their impactful work, we will be sharing each of our 18 communities’ stories — highlighting the partners’ collaborative approach to creating meaningful change in their community, the challenges they faced, and the transformative impact of these efforts for residents.

Encompassing the entire city of Dallas and many surrounding municipalities, Dallas County is the second-most populous county in Texas, with over 2.6 million residents, according to the 2020 Census. The majority of Dallas County residents are people of color, with nearly 65 percent of residents identifying as either Latino or Black. Compared to Dallas County as a whole, the southern part of the county has seen little investment and residents experience a high level of food insecurity. Crossroads Community Services and its Advancing Community Partnerships collaborators—Parkland Health, Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS), and the two study leads—sought to create a pathway to better health that started with easy access to healthy food. At the heart of their model is a network of over 100 local distribution sites serving over 30,000 people through trusted community organizations, such as churches, community centers, and public housing facilities.

Over the past three years, the collaborative has been able to:

  • Complete 350+ client contacts and 160+ referrals to food, health, and financial resources;
  • Recruit 160 active Community Distribution Partners;
  • And ensure clients can pick up food just five minutes after placing a food order from the Virtual Pantry.

 The way you start your day with food starts everything else. There are so many connections between nutrition and healthy functioning for families. Not being hungry helps them focus, not just on health, but other things like economic stability. —April Parker, The Cities of Refuge

Read more about the BUILD Dallas project. All stories from the third cohort can be found here.