Did you know 1 in 6 adults in our 12-county area are food insecure?
For kids, it is 1 in 4. This number is troubling to me.
My name is Kara Nickens and I am the new CEO for the Wichita Falls Area Food Bank. I am a native of Quanah and have lived in Wichita Falls since 1989, moving to Lakeside City in 2006. I graduated from Midwestern State University with a degree in Business Administration.
I’ve spent the last 20-plus years working with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. I enjoyed a very rewarding career advocating for individuals who often just needed someone to care and speak up for them. However, to challenge myself and enrich my service to the community I decided it was time to choose a new career path.
As I started my new journey I took some classes at The Nonprofit Center of Texoma and decided I wanted to focus my energy on working with a nonprofit. Then I began learning more about the mission and good works of the Food Bank. I am honored and humbled that the board of directors chose me to serve as their CEO.
I was raised by my grandmother and although times could be difficult and trying for her, we were blessed to never have to worry about having food on the table or a roof over our heads. She worked as a laundress at a nursing home for near minimum wage most of her life, retiring at close to 80 years old. Through her example, she instilled in me the need for a strong work ethic. She always put others needs in front of her own and gained her joy from sharing with others.
My grandmother always made sure my basic needs were met, and I have been blessed by many special people in my life who ensured I stayed on the right path and pursued my education. If others had not stepped in to ensure I felt their love and support I might have fallen through the cracks and my life journey could have been much different. Knowing the difference others have made in my life, it is my turn to give back.
Since starting with the food bank I have witnessed grateful parents and grandparents receive nutritious food boxes and fresh vegetables at a local school. The families rely on these boxes to supplement their food supply at home. Many can’t afford the “luxury” of vegetables some of us often take for granted. I’ve assisted with sorting and packing items for the school Back Pack Program for kids who otherwise might not have anything to eat over the weekend. They receive a 2-pound bag of food on Fridays to take home. I have observed kids receiving a hot meal after school through our Kids Cafe Program because they might not have a meal in the evening when they get home. I’ve witnessed selfless volunteers come to the Food Bank to assist with carrying out our mission, whether it is to donate or work in the warehouse assisting with many functions including sorting and packaging food orders. I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting some of our over 200 Partner Agencies, working diligently to ensure people struggling with food security receive food.
I would like to thank the community for supporting the Food Bank over the years. Without you we would not be able to continue fighting for our vision of hunger-free communities. I am excited about this opportunity and encourage you to continue alongside me as I make a conscientious effort to ensure no child or adult goes to bed hungry.