A drastic food shortage at the Hays County Food Bank is sparking a community effort to restock the shelves that help curb food insecurity in the county.
The initial plea for help came June 25 after a Facebook photo showed empty shelves at the food bank. Within two days, 3,000 pounds were donated for the effort.
“Before we issued the call for help, we had a few empty shelves,” said Mallory Best, communications coordinator for the Hays County Food Bank. “The community support was amazing and it shows how much our citizens care.”
Best said the food bank serves 1,500 households a week. During the summer months, hundreds of students throughout Hays County rely on the food bank to stay fed while school is out.
Best said 70 percent of San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District (SMCISD) students qualify for free and reduced meals.
Although school districts in the area provide meals during the summer, it can be difficult for students to find adequate transportation to these programs.
“Food is a basic need and we operate all year long, a misconception some people may have,” Best said. “All year is the season of giving, and we always need donations to keep our shelves stocked.”
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 41 million people in the United States were food insecure in 2016. In Hays County, one in seven citizens is food insecure, according to HCFB statistics.
“Your donations help keep our community fed through the summer months,” Best said. “Our goal is to have 12,000 pounds of food each month. It’s a revolving door. As food leaves our building, we need to replace it.”
The food bank is also utilizing Amazon as a tool for donations. Citizens can donate through Amazing via the food bank’s wishlist. On July 3, the Hays County Food Bank received nearly 1,000 pounds of food through the delivery service.
“We are always looking for staple items like pasta, rice, beans, diced tomatoes, veggies and snacks,” Best said. “If food is damaged, we will donate it to local farmers for animals or use it as compost. Nothing is going to waste and it all serves a purpose.”