Thanks to the generous support of donors and partners, Feeding Texas and the statewide network of food banks were able to feed hundreds of thousands of Texans since the start of the COVID-19 economic downturn and make a commitment to be there for the long term with increased levels of support. Over 400 million pounds of food were distributed in response to the pandemic from March to August via the Feeding Texas network. That’s a 60% increase over the same period in 2019.
Impact + Response
Texas food banks could not have acted as quickly and effectively without the generous and timely support of the philanthropic and business communities. As our elected officials met to determine the appropriate level of federal aid, the immediate financial support we received from private donors helped food banks keep pace with the rapidly increasing demand. This private support continues to be essential to our ability to adapt and respond, but without the federal stimulus funding for hunger relief, food banks alone would not have been able meet the elevated need in their communities.
An Increase in Food Insecurity Leads to
Higher Demand at Food Banks
- 8.9M Texans (31%) are now food insecure, more than double the pre-pandemic rate — and the food insecurity rate among Black and Latinx Texans is 12-14 percentage points higher than among White Texans.
- The number of families seeking assistance from Texas food banks has doubled since March. Food banks served, on average, 400,000 families weekly in the first six months of the pandemic. Over half of these families were seeking food assistance for the first time.
Loss of Volunteers and Local Partners Lead to
a New Distribution Model
- Food banks lost 70% of their volunteer base due to the pandemic. Their two most reliable sources of volunteers—employer-sponsored events and retirees—were disrupted due to shelter-in-place orders and health concerns.
- Large drive-through distributions became the safest and most efficient way to meet the demand. Food banks expect to continue this model for at least the next six months as demand continues to climb.
Public / private partnerships will be critical to support the millions of Texans facing food insecurity and economic uncertainty in the year to come. Securing more federal commodities and food donations will help to fill the gap, but we also need to increase investment in the federal food assistance programs to reduce the need for charitable food.
The Feeding Texas Network will continue to adapt and respond to the challenges presented by COVID-19. Our food banks, their volunteers, and local partners will remain on the front line ensuring our neighbors have the food they need during this difficult time. We are confident in our elected officials to lead us through this crisis, and grateful for the ongoing support of our communities.