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Community Lifeline Center's Food Pantry

Featured Article

Community Lifeline Center: Empowering Neighbors in Need

Nonprofit of the Month

Article by Alisa Hauser

Photography by Alisa Hauser, Community Lifeline Center

Originally published in Allen City Lifestyle

Did you know that nearly one in five children in Collin County don’t have consistent access to nutritious food?

Although hunger is most often associated with urban areas, it affects people from all walks of life and in all communities. Today, hunger in suburban areas is growing faster and faster. Too many families here in the Allen area are just one job loss, missed paycheck, or medical emergency away from hunger.

Conservative estimates suggest there are more than 100,000 Collin County residents who currently do not have enough to eat, including at least 40,000 children who go to bed hungry each night.

One local nonprofit doing its part to help is Community Lifeline Center, a community organization in charge of getting food into the pantries of people who need it.

“Here in Collin County, one in four families are unsure how long what they have in their pantry will last,” says Executive Director Michael Schwerin. “In times like this, food becomes less about the luxury of feeling full and more about fueling your body enough to get through another day.”

The reality is that more people live below the poverty line in the suburbs than in cities. “As people move out to the suburbs searching for a better cost of living, there’s a growing need for assistance,” explains Schwerin.

Community Lifeline Center is dedicated to preventing food scarcity for all. With that vision in mind, they work diligently to come alongside neighbors in times of need. At no time in recent history was that need more urgent than during the pandemic. With many local businesses shutting down, many families lost jobs.

Community Lifeline Center had to quickly adapt. “We’re as nimble as we can be, staying open to new and different ways of operating,” says Schwerin.

One of these innovations is the Mobile Food Distribution program. During the pandemic and to this day, the Mobile Food Distribution program spends every Saturday morning going out into the community to distribute 100 to 200 pantry boxes per weekend.

Unfortunately, circumstances haven’t improved since the pandemic. “It’s a different kind of need,” explains Schwerin. “Inflation, skyrocketing utilities, and increased cost of living are causing more and more families to struggle. It’s going to be a long trek back to normal.”

“The biggest barrier is asking for help, so we are as nonjudgmental, empathetic, and caring as we can be,” says Schwerin.

And it’s working.

“Just in the past six months since I’ve been the director, requests for financial support have risen from 30 to 40 per week to 50 to 60 per week,” Schwerin continues.

Although he is new to the position, Community Lifeline Center has been helping residents of Collin County for over 30 years, providing firm footing to those experiencing temporary crises.

Their mission is to guide local residents in crisis back to self-sufficiency and independence, serving as an invaluable resource for assistance, information, and referral services.

They form partnerships with utility providers to prevent families from having utilities disconnected, and work with landlords to save families from being evicted. Eviction, Shwerin explains, “Creates a whole avalanche of compounding issues."

How can you help? Donate.

'Tis the season for giving, and there is no better way to end the year than by giving back to your community. Your generous cash donations go the furthest because Community Lifeline Center partners with local grocery stores to make your donation stretch even further, allowing them to secure even larger quantities of food at reduced prices.

By working together to help our neighbors, we can create a stronger community, empowering the ones who need help when they need it the most, and reminding them of the strength of our community — not just in this joyous season, but throughout the whole year.

“And it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well…may that be truly said of us, and all of us!” — Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

  • Community Lifeline Center's Food Pantry
  • Executive Director, Michael Schwerin
  • Mobile Food Distribution program