Arlington, Texas – Imbued with a robust faith and an unyielding commitment to combating food insecurity, the non-profit Taste Project has carved out a unique niche in the Texan landscape of Fort Worth. Their ingenious culinary endeavor, a pay-as-you-feel community eatery tucked away on South Main Street, close to the JPS Hospital, has been a beacon of hope for the needy since its inception in 2017.
Non-profit Taste Project has helped more than 150,000 local residents since 2017
Ever since its commencement, the Taste Project has held fast to its compelling mission, serving more than 150,000 individuals with its flexible pay-what-you-can initiative. Even the lightest jingle of a penny is welcomed, but patrons are also encouraged to contribute according to their means.
As reported by the executive director, Jeff Williams, in his recent interview with CBS News Texas, the demand for their service is on an upward trajectory. They are now catering to over a thousand people per week, prompting their expansion into the city of Arlington. A new location is set to open its doors on Cooper Street, just south of Division Street, and conveniently situated near downtown and the UT Arlington campus.
Williams, whose own personal history with food insecurity fuels his fervent dedication to the cause, stressed that the majority of households grappling with food insecurity are inhabited by working adults.
“I think a big misconception for people is who is food insecure. I think everybody thinks its limited to homeless or severe poverty but it’s really not,” he said.
In fact, according to Williams, approximately 13% of the population in Tarrant County, where Fort Worth is located, grapples with food insecurity. The 2020-2024 HUD Consolidated Plan for Arlington corroborates this, noting that low- and moderate-income individuals and families often lack consistent access to nutritious food due to the dual obstacles of insufficient transportation and limited affordable options for wholesome fare.
Taking this into account, Williams emphasized the urgent need for their service in Arlington, the second-largest city in Tarrant County. Their examination of the city’s demographics revealed disturbing food deserts, areas devoid of affordable, healthful food options.
“Arlington is the second largest city in Tarrant County, and it’s larger than most other county seats,” Williams said. “We started looking at the demographics … and found out Arlington had food deserts. There was a need population, there was a similar demographic area to where we are located in Fort Worth.”
Non-profit Taste Project will partner with the City of Arlington for their expansion
To facilitate their expansion, the Taste Project has forged a partnership with the City of Arlington. The latter has offered a 10-year-lease on a city-owned building. Like its Fort Worth counterpart, the new restaurant will feature a price-less menu, fostering an environment free from judgement. The staff, largely composed of volunteers who eschew tips, echoes this sentiment.
The Taste Project’s endeavors extend beyond meal provision. They also organize culinary classes, job training programs, and maintain a verdant garden, where they not only cultivate food but also instill valuable gardening skills in interested participants.
One of their regular patrons, Clayton Ketcherside, lauds the project. He says the restaurant, with its welcoming atmosphere and charitable community, has positively impacted his life over the past two years.
The Taste Project continues to thrive, buoyed by the benevolence of the community and generous donations. For further information or to contribute to their cause, one may visit tasteproject.org.
Dallas Metro News – https://t.co/rMFuh1moRw#DallasMetroNews#Fort #Worth nonprofit Taste Project decided to open location and expand operations in #Arlington.https://t.co/RfQDrN5UpL#Dallas #DallasNews #community #donate
— DallasMetro.news (@DallasMetroNews) June 27, 2023