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HOUSTON, Texas (KIAH) Over the past few decades, the Houston Food Bank has grown to become America’s largest food bank.
The Houston Food Bank is nearly forty years old. Over the years, the nonprofit has built up surplus food resources to help prevent hunger. Not just for Houstonians, but for people across the country.
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Since 1982, Houston Food Bank has served 18 counties with the greatest needs in rural and low-income areas.
People are affected. Often times it’s just the loss of hours in a job or the loss of a job. So we don’t always serve the same people. The aim is to save perishable and non-perishable food that would land in landfills in other areas where food insecurity is not such a major concern. What we found out is that in our country, about 3,000,000,000 pounds of produce is grown but not harvested, and another 3,000,000 pounds of produce is harvested but not sold. In other words, left to rot in the field.
Amy Ragan, Houston Food Bank’s chief development officer
The board is responsible for securing large donations. The next step is to sort the foods to make sure that all of the nutritional requirements are met.
Once this is done, the donations will be distributed to around 1,500 community partners such as pantries, colleges and churches. That company then gives the food to their customers, but Ragan says it’s more than just that.
“The Houston Food Bank realized very early that it’s not all about calories calories calories. We had to think about nutritious calories and nutritious foods, ”Ragan said.
Ragan says the quality of the resources the food bank provides has changed over the years. The focus today is on perishable products such as meat and other products.
“People always wonder why low-income people who don’t have enough to eat are often overweight or obese. This is because they have to buy that unhealthy, high carbohydrate food you know, cheap food, just to save hunger. But they can’t afford a lot of nutritious foods, ”Ragan said.
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When the food bank first opened its doors, they outsourced 35 million pounds of food. Now the nonprofit saves 250-300 thousand pounds of short-lived meat every month.
Ragan says the organization can donate more food. This often relieves the burden on families and enables them to prioritize other needs.
“I also think they see it as an opportunity to get back on their feet. They know that when they get help, then they have – it frees up other resources – the money they need to get the rent paid. And to do some other things that they can do and still have a roof over their heads, ”Ragan said.
The Houston Food Bank says donating money, along with food, is an important part of the organization. one dollar can provide three meals.
Visit the Houston Food Bank website for more information on volunteering and donating.