Dave Corley is a numbers man.

As a navigation and operations officer in the U.S. Navy, he was responsible for reviewing and recording as many as 400 gauge readings every hour of his shift during different assignments on three nuclear submarines.

After the military, numbers remained his language as a civilian engineer until his retirement four years ago.

Today, the 68-year-old Plano man affectionately called “Captain Dave” is multiplying his experience with numbers as a volunteer for The Storehouse of Collin County, a partner agency and one of the largest distributors of food for the North Texas Food Bank (NTFB).

Each week, working over several days, he monitors and inventories deliveries of 100,000 pounds of fresh, dried, frozen and refrigerated goods from the food bank for distribution to families who need help.

“Thank goodness for spreadsheets,” he says. 

But Corley says his volunteer work that started with stocking and bagging canned foods and eventually included working with other volunteers and forming relationships with neighbors in need goes way beyond numbers, helping him grow in many ways.

“It has helped me understand others wherever they are in life,” he says. “It’s improved my faith. It’s improved my health. I’ve become a better man for it.”

Corley, featured in a video by The Storehouse, is a part of the equation of numerous volunteers who help multiply hope for thousands of neighbors in need in Collin County. He is also Local Profile’s Local Hero for North Texas Giving Day.

Now more than ever, nonprofits need consistent funding, because those that they serve are in great need. On Thursday, Sept. 17, The Storehouse is participating in Communities Foundation of Texas’ North Texas Giving Day, a one-day online giving extravaganza for the region.

Despite the challenges of COVID-19, The Storehouse along with the help of the caring members of the community, has continued meeting the growing needs in the community.

Just a month after The Storehouse moved in February into its new space off Mira Vista Boulevard, the impact of the pandemic was evident. The number of families seeking food assistance grew from 770 families (2,748 individuals) in January, to 2,369 families (8,840 individuals) in April, sustaining at 1,336 families (5,263 individuals) in July.

Today, The Storehouse is seeing a sustained average of 1,300 families or 5,000 individuals – a significant increase from the number served during the first of the year, says Candace Winslow, executive director of The Storehouse.  

“As our need for services has multiplied, so has our need for support,” she says. “For North Texas Giving Day 2020, let us consider the power of multiplication and how together we can make a bigger difference in Collin County and beyond.”

Candace Winslow and Dave Corley / Courtesy of The Storehouse

Coincidentally, Winslow first met Corley when she was volunteering with The Storehouse with her son, before she came on board as executive director. He was their session leader for their volunteer shift. He attends all the team meetings and planning sessions — like a staff member with amazing input but still a volunteer.

The Storehouse began 11 years ago under the name of Seven Loaves, after Sharon Hasley, wife of St. Andrew United Methodist Church’s Senior Pastor Robert Hasley, witnessed the effects of severe poverty in a Collin County grocery store. She’d seen a woman buying 20 cans of cat food and learned that she had no cats. The woman was using cat food to survive. Hasley left the store with a burdened heart. 

Soon after, Hasley happened into a conversation with the late Jan Pruitt, CEO at the North Texas Food Bank, and the two expressed a common desire to increase support efforts in Collin County, where even before COVID-19, more than 6 percent of Collin County residents live in poverty, most of whom are children. One out of five children (18.4 percent) in Collin County face food insecurity daily and women ages 18-44 (23 percent) make up the largest demographic living in poverty.

At first, Hasley tried to feed hungry families on her own but soon realized the needs within the community were larger than one person could handle. She decided to multiply her efforts by bringing in 12 people to brainstorm and work with her. She founded Seven Loaves Food Pantry in May 2009, first opening to a single family on the St. Andrew campus.

Dave Corely / Courtesy of The Storehouse of Collin County

The effort, which provided only food pantry staples, grew over the years to meet a variety of needs not only supported by the church but also by local corporations, food service partners, and thousands of volunteers.

As other needs became apparent, Joseph’s Coat was added in 2010 to provide clothing items to the families. The program is sustained with ongoing clothing donations from church and community members. A third program called Project Hope was also added in 2010 to serve women and families who desire to break the cycle of poverty.

Today, these three programs work in tandem under the banner of The Storehouse of Collin County.

“Looking back, I now know that the only way I could have fulfilled my life’s purpose of ‘service’ was to multiply my efforts by serving alongside others,” Hasley says in a news release about the nonprofit whose mission is to feed, clothe and care for neighbors in one community. “The Storehouse is built on a foundation of individuals who multiply their efforts and their impact through collaboration.

“Because multiplication leads to exponential outcomes, everyone can play an important role on North Texas Giving Day. Every gift, no matter its size, multiplies hope for many.”

As a partner agency and one of the largest distributors of food for the North Texas Food Bank (NTFB), The Storehouse can stretch a donor’s dollar to purchase a larger quantity of food. No gift is too small – just one dollar will provide three meals to a hungry North Texan. 

The numbers are astounding. Seven Loaves Food Pantry, serves 1,300 families a month and Joseph’s Coat Clothing Closet provides an average of 4,000 garments each month. Project Hope mentors and supports women in crisis.

In September 2018, The Storehouse received the North Texas Food Bank’s Partner Agency of the Year Excellence in Impact Award in recognition of its life changing services, meeting multiple needs for each family served.

“In a year where nothing has added up, we have found new ways to multiply hope for our neighbors through innovation, resilience, teamwork, and a genuine care for everyone in our community,” Winslow says. “Additionally, the love we have given to our neighbors and the love they have returned has multiplied. 

“As long as there is a need in our community, we will continue to feed, clothe, and care as neighbors,” she adds.

For information about North Texas Giving Day or to support The Storehouse’s mission, visit: northtexasgivingday.org/thestorehousecc

Annette Nevins

Annette Bernhard Nevins is a Plano-based award-winning journalist who specializes in breaking news and features. She has held staff positions at several Texas newspapers, including The Dallas Morning News,...