Baylor alums distribute meals to thousands of Dallas families during pandemic
Kevin Pranoto (BS ’11, MDiv/MSW ’16) and Travis Aune (BBA ’19) attended Baylor at different times and studied different things. But in 2019, their paths crossed at Mission Oak Cliff (MOC) — and definitely for the better.
For 70+ years, MOC has served Dallas families with its food pantry, but the organization faced a harsh reality when the pandemic hit. The nonprofit saw a 75% increase in the number of clients coming for food services, as many families lost income and dealt with other impacts from COVID-19.
Suddenly, Pranoto (MOC’s executive director) and Aune (an MOC staff member) began coordinating the distribution of food and services for thousands of hungry Dallas families.
“We felt the heavy weight of this pandemic’s effects on our community, and we had to constantly adapt our services to better serve our neighbors and keep up with the increased needs,” says Pranoto. “Collaboration was key; we strengthened connections with other nonprofit partners, schools, congregations and businesses to ensure we could meet the increased demand.”
MOC has doubled its partnerships within Dallas ISD schools (from three to six) in the past year, providing even more students with academic help, meals, and opportunities to connect with their communities. Additionally, the organization launched Food2Families in the fall, a new program that delivered groceries to families who are both food insecure and transportation-burdened.
“It’s been really rewarding to watch our community come together during these difficult times,” says Aune. “In the past year, we’ve been able to serve over 16,000 people.”
Aune and Pranoto agree their time at Baylor was instrumental in preparing them for this unique role.
“My education at Baylor helped establish a strong foundation for my position at Mission Oak Cliff,” says Pranoto. “My Baylor degrees in nutrition science, theology and social work have helped me gain the skills and knowledge I need to think systematically about responding to the hunger crisis in Oak Cliff.”
“My years at Baylor were the best of my life,” echoes Aune. “I studied business and economics and devoted much of my time to getting involved in the Waco community, including volunteer work and learning about the effects of poverty on communities. Those experiences directly prepared me for my work with Mission Oak Cliff.”
Sic ’em, Kevin and Travis!
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