How a local food bank fights food insecurity one meal at a time
Jul 16, 2012
Nearly 1 million people in Southeast Texas are unable to access the food they need to live healthy lives, with many residents running a monthly deficit of $52 for food costs. Their situations vary – some live at or below the poverty line, others earn too much to be considered impoverished, and some may just be experiencing a temporary setback – but all are all in need.
Since 1982, the Houston Food Bank has worked to address this critical need. A certified member of Feeding America, the Houston Food Bank serves as the largest source of food for nearly 500 hunger relief agencies in 18 Southeast Texas counties, including church food pantries, homeless shelters, safe havens for the battered and abused, and nutrition sites for children and the elderly.
When Hurricane Ike struck the region in 2008, it disrupted the economy and left many residents unemployed. Homes and businesses were destroyed and the region lost power for two weeks. After operating uninterrupted for 26 years, the Houston Food Bank faced unprecedented need. Wanting to ensure that the Houston Food Bank could provide food during this critical time and continue being a resource for Southeast Texas hunger relief agencies, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation provided a $50,000 emergency grant to the organization.
“When Hurricane Ike hit the region, we distributed almost 20 million pounds of disaster relief supplies,” said Brian Greene, Houston Food Bank President. “We knew that it could take up to three days before supplies from FEMA and other organizations would arrive to the region, but thanks to the support of Bank of America and our network of 500 partners and volunteer programs, we were able to help people get the food they needed during those first critical days.”
Bank of America continued its support for the food bank over the next several years, contributing hundreds of volunteers and an additional $535,000 in grant funding, including a safety net grant in 2010, and an unrestricted grant of $200,000 in 2011 as part of the food bank’s selection as a 2011 Bank of America Neighborhood Builder.
“Before Bank of America provides volunteer or financial support to an organization, we first look at the organization’s impact,” said Kim Ruth, Houston Market President and Texas State President for Bank of America. “The Houston Food Bank is a critical component of Houston and the Southeast Texas region. It provides a large safety net for the region and allows people to access the food they need in partner food pantries throughout a 600 square-mile area, and we’re proud of our continued support.”
With the support of companies like Bank of America, the Houston Food Bank is now entering its 30th year of service and providing almost 60 million nutritious meals to close to 900,000 people annually in the communities of Southeast Texas.
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