Houston Meals Financial institution says it confronted document demand in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic – Houston Public Media
Houston Food Bank distributes Christmas boxes at NRG.
The Houston Food Bank has distributed a record £ 272 million in food since the Houston pandemic first hit Houston in March 2020 – an 86% increase over the 12 month period before COVID-19.
A Houston Food Bank spokesman said demand is higher than ever, even past the year after Hurricane Harvey.
In May, June and August 2020, the board almost tripled its distribution in the same months of 2019.
“For food banks, the pandemic has brought new challenges and tested us in ways we have never tested before,” said a statement from Houston Food Bank CEO Brian Greene. “We had to find ways to distribute more food with increased restrictions, do more with fewer volunteers, and all while adhering to strict health and safety protocols.”
That need has been heightened for some immigrant families who may not have received stimulus checks due to immigration status, said Cathy Moore, director of the nonprofit ECHOS, which operates a pantry that supplies immigrant families with groceries from the Houston Food Bank.
Although ECHOS had to cut services significantly due to a lack of volunteers, Moore said their pantry is serving more food than it did before the pandemic.
“The need for food has always been great, it will always be great for food for our community,” said Moore. “But when the pandemic hit last year, the need increased because so many people were unemployed.”
During the pandemic, Houston Food Bank expanded its operations and increased sales through its network of neighborhood grocery supplies, neighborhood super sites, and home deliveries in areas like Acres Homes, Sunnyside, and Katy.
Despite the increased food distribution, volunteer Amatullah Contractor said, there are still communities living in food deserts. After the Texas freeze, Contractor joined other volunteers to coordinate water and food deliveries in the fifth ward, where some people went without running water for weeks.
“We’d like to work with the county to start some kind of mobile grocery store initiative,” said Contractor. “One of the biggest things we noticed in our efforts in Fifth Ward – there are liquor stores on every corner, but where can you get fresh groceries and groceries?”
Contractor, along with volunteers Marcel McLinton and Jacqueline Westman, has distributed more than 75 pallets of water and helped around 5,000 post-freeze residents of Texas.
“We want to make sure these people are able to sustain themselves,” said Contractor. “Mainly because if they are largely ignored, we will have to invest something to make sure they don’t die because the government isn’t paying attention.”
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