Houston Food Bank COVID-19 & Winter Storm Response

by Houston Food Bank
Houston Food Bank COVID-19 & Winter Storm Response
Houston Food Bank COVID-19 & Winter Storm Response
Houston Food Bank COVID-19 & Winter Storm Response
Houston Food Bank COVID-19 & Winter Storm Response
Houston Food Bank COVID-19 & Winter Storm Response
Houston Food Bank COVID-19 & Winter Storm Response
Houston Food Bank COVID-19 & Winter Storm Response
Houston Food Bank COVID-19 & Winter Storm Response
Houston Food Bank COVID-19 & Winter Storm Response
Houston Food Bank COVID-19 & Winter Storm Response
Volunteers sorting food for distribution
Volunteers sorting food for distribution

If you were looking for a sign that people care, this is it. Always remember that your value is not measured by what you own but by what you give: a smile, a kind word, a helping hand, an open heart. You are priceless! 

When it comes to priceless things, Houston Food Bank has learned many valuable lessons from our neighbors experiencing hunger throughout the last two years and it's taken steps to address health, safety, accessibility, and flexibility. As recovery from the pandemic continues, those impacted the most by COVID-19 are some of the last to recover from the pandemic’s economic fallout. Now, rising food prices have created a harsh reality for families in our community who were already struggling to afford enough food.  When prices rise, it means more people may need help from food banks to keep food on the table. It also means food banks must pay higher prices for food just as more people may be turning to them for help.

Houston Food Bank relies on your ongoing support to contend with higher food prices and continue feeding as many families facing hunger as possible.  Thank you for your help and care - together we can make sure that families on a budget have enough tot eat this fall. 

Clients receiving food
Clients receiving food
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More than two years ago COVID-19 began impacting our community. A lot has changed since then. Your gift to GlobalGiving to support Houston Food Bank has helped us respond to increased requests for assistance. We're delivering more nutritious meals than ever to our neighbors experiencing hunger, an average of 500,000 meals per distribution day.  

We have learned a lot over the last two years.  Impacts to the global food supply chain made us more aware of our local needs. That is why Houston Food Bank is making sure the areas we serve have access to free local food by supporting hyperlocal farmers and food producers.  We also know the people we serve get hit the hardest with inflation. With food prices and gas prices soaring we are doing everything within our capability to continue to increase food distributions.

Around 1 million people in the 18 southeast Texas counties served by Houston Food Bank are considered food insecure, meaning they lack consistent access to adequate nutritious food to fuel a healthy life. 

In the last month, we distributed more than 14 million pounds of food and more than 4 million pounds of fresh produce to help fill the gaps on plates.  Our programs are designed with intent to ensure that the most vulnerable populations have access to the nutritious food they need. Through our special programs, in the last month we delivered 44,296 ready to eat meals through the Kids Cafe Program and continue to serve more than 11,000 seniors through our Senior Box Program. 

Thank you.  Supporters like you allow Houston Food Bank to do the work that we do! 

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Backpacks are filled with food for the weekends
Backpacks are filled with food for the weekends

When our neighbors are struggling, Houston Food Bank is there—every day of the year. Our efficient work and network of community partners means that we are uniquely prepared to respond to crises. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we have a proud history of supporting our neighbors as they prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters of all types. 

We've almost made it through winter with no major storms this year.  On Groundhog Day, Pennsylvania’s most famous groundhog, awoke and saw his shadow — which, according to folklore, means there will be six more weeks of winter.  To many Texans, it means remaining vigilant about keeping their pantries stocked in case we have another Winter Storm.  Your donations help us make sure those pantries stay stocked. 

With your support we distributed more than 207 million nutritious meals last year.  We are also making strides in implementing new technologies in our programs including our Backpack Buddy and Senior Box Programs. In response to improviding our distributions to meet COVID-19 safety protocols, we’ve launched the OrderAhead app which allows families to shop for items they choose and pick them up at a scheduled time and location that works for their schedule. Through partnerships with delivery services we’ve launched home delivery to our clients with mobility issues and lack of transportation and we are working to expand these programs.

Houston Food Bank is grateful for your support to the GlobalGiving campaign.  Your donations help us respond to the changing needs of our neighbors experiencing hunger. 

Families receive food boxes at distribution
Families receive food boxes at distribution

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Volunteers work drive-thru food distribution
Volunteers work drive-thru food distribution

Donations through GlobalGiving are making a big impact on Houston Food Bank's (HFB) recovery efforts in response to the pandemic and after the Winter Storm.  With donor contributions through GlobalGiving we have provided nearly 600,000 nutritious meals to families in need. 

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic.  In mid-February 2021 Houston Food Bank (HFB) faced another unexpected disaster when the State of Texas experienced an extreme winter storm affecting all 18 counties in HFB's service area.  Many of our neighbors lost power and water, including families who were already struggling with food insecurity due to the pandemic. 

More than 5 million people in our service area have applied for unemployment benefits since April of 2020.  The State's unemployment rate remains more than double what it was was prior to the pandemic and the need for food assistance remains high.  HFB, a stalwart supporter of our community, has continually adjusted our response to meet needs.  HFB has established workflows to meet a new level of demand and our focus has broadened to include long-term priorities across our service territory. 

“Food banks are doing everything possible to continue to meet the challenge, but we can’t do it alone. We thank the community, businesses and foundations for their continual support, we are grateful for the partnerships we have forged and strengthened, and we will continue to proudly serve the communities of the 18 counties in southeast Texas who rely on us” says Brian Greene, president/CEO of Houston Food Bank.

The people served by Houston Food Bank, almost by definition, do not have the ability or the means to have food reserves. Houston Food Bank’s efficient work and network of community partners means that they are uniquely prepared to respond to crises. With your support, HFB has increased our response in the following ways since March 2020:

  • 393,339,242 lbs of food and product distributed
  • 149,007,242 lbs of fresh produce distributed 
  • 69,459 individuals volunteered at HFB
  • 2,095,660 meals delivered to homes safely and with no contact with the help of volunteers, staff and partners such as CrowdSource Rescue and TaskRabbit
  • 4,329,9531 ready to eat meals distributed to children in the Kids Cafe program
  • 498,940 food sacks distributed to children in the Backpack Buddy program

The impact of the winter storm and pandemic means the demand for food resources will remain higher this year than anticipated.  Your support allows us to evolve and respond regardless of what challenges could come next.  Donations from supporters have helped HFB prepare disaster product in order to immediately respond to the needs of our community.  Without supporters like you, HFB would not be able to do the work that we do. 

Thank you for your ongoing support. 

Sorting food for Backpack Buddy Program
Sorting food for Backpack Buddy Program
Backpack Buddy Program volunteers
Backpack Buddy Program volunteers
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NRG distribution with Houston ISD.
NRG distribution with Houston ISD.

Since our last report in March 2021, HFB has continued to serve communities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic across our 18-county service area in southeast Texas. In April and May of 2021:

  • 36,314,220 lbs of food and product distributed
  • 10,945,300 lbs of fresh produce distributed
  • 6,725 individuals volunteered at HFB
  • 114,879 meals delivered to homes safely and with no contact with the help of volunteers, staff and partners such as CrowdSource Rescue and TaskRabbit
  • 88,811 ready to eat meals distributed to children in the Kids Cafe program
  • 74,625 food sacks distributed to children in the Backpack Buddy program

Without supporters like you, HFB would not be able to do the work that we do!

As we passed a year into the pandemic, we have adjusted to meet the needs of the community and adapted our logistics and operations to help people in the safest and most effective ways possible. Now that there are established workflows around immediate priorities, our focus has broadened to include long-term priorities to continue to meet the elevated long-term need in the community. Our long-term priorities include:

  • Continuing to meet rising demand and feed people who may be relying on our support for the first time;
  • Advocating for state support to help our partners meet the need;
  • Adapting the ways we deliver food to meet unique needs of individuals and community partners;
  • Educating the community to share information and destigmatize food support

On behalf of HFB and the clients we serve, thank you for your support this past year. We don’t want to just endure this crisis- we want to come out stronger and in a better position to serve our community.

HFB's Community Health Market Trailer distribution
HFB's Community Health Market Trailer distribution
Volunteers assembling food boxes
Volunteers assembling food boxes
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Organization Information

Houston Food Bank

Location: Houston, TX - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @houstonfoodbank
Project Leader:
Lesly Johnson
Houston, TX United States
$26,014 raised of $99,000 goal
 
256 donations
$72,986 to go
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