A DCT Hero Salute
As the COVID-19 crisis continues to ravage our country and state, it’s comforting to know that we do have heroes among us; selfless citizens who go above and beyond just to help keep our community moving forward. DCT Board Member Anna Kurian is one of those people.
The need for feeding families has reached unprecedented levels as North Texans have been slammed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated dire economic ramifications. Few have been as immersed in the relief effort as Anna Kurian, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications for North Texas Food Bank (NTFB).
“Since the pandemic began, spread and spiked across North Texas, we have doubled down on our efforts. Our food bank has distributed more than 35 million pounds of food since March 15 via our Mobile Pantry efforts and our Partner Agency Feeding Network,” said Kurian. “We have served at least 246,000 people at sites such as Fair Park, the University of North Texas Dallas, North Lake College, and Lone Star Park.”
Kurian celebrated six years as a Food Banker on April 28, and during that time has held a number of roles while serving alongside passionate hunger fighters. Being spokeswoman for the organization can be daunting and the hours exhausting. On days when she is working from home, her computer usually boots up at 8AM, and in between answering media calls, responding to emails and putting out fires, it doesn’t shut down until 10PM.
Long hours, but working from home does have a few perks.
Her husband, Benson, is a hands-on dad, but anytime she catches a breath, Kurian tries to spend as much time with her children, Sophie (5), and Cassian (1). “I like being the one that puts the baby down for his naps,” she said. A demanding job, a husband and two young children. What keeps Kurian’s stress level from being off the charts?
“I try to find a balance between being home and being offsite at our distributions,” she said. “I cherish the moments when I can be onsite. I love my food bank family, and getting to see them during Mobile Pantry distributions is a highlight of my week.”
NTFB isn’t the only nonprofit that benefits from Kurian’s time. Somehow, she makes time to serve on the Dallas Children’s Theater Board of Trustees. In her role at the food bank, she works to increase NTFB’s brand recognition through direct-response efforts, social media, the website, media relations and advertising. She said she is happy to serve DCT using these same principles.
You might think endless lines of cars waiting to be served and seeing the urgent need of the public would be devastating. Kurian often jokes about being coldhearted, but when she sees the immense need in our community, she finds it overwhelming and heartbreaking.
“I have met countless people who are seeking our help for the first time,” she said. “Each of them has a unique story, and I feel privileged to be able to help them, but at the same time saddened that the need is so great. At the end of the day, I am proud to be a Food Banker. The community has rallied behind our mission and provided us with overwhelming support.”
What gives Kurian the stamina to keep going when the coronavirus shows no sign of letting up any time soon?
“It sounds a bit corny,” she said, “but the kindness of strangers is what is keeping me going at the food bank. We have had people from different states send in money because they saw the NTFB on a national news story. We had people who donated their stimulus money because they want to help others, and finally, North Texas is the most giving community. I know that even when businesses reopen and people get back to work, there will continue to be a need, but thanks to the generosity of the community, the food bank is ready to meet that need.”
Anna Kurian may not think of herself as a hero. But as she fights against hunger in North Texas, she is most certainly a warrior.
Written by Coy Covington
Coy is in his eleventh year as Executive Administrator at Dallas Children’s Theater. He is also an accomplished actor, director, wig and hair designer and freelance writer.
Photos courtesy of Anna Kurian and Coy Covington