KYLE – A frosty, Saturday Halloween morning brought a line of cars at Lehman High School before the food drive began its distribution. People were waiting ahead of time, ensuring they would have a turn at receiving their box of food.
“There’s a need,” said Kyle Councilman Alex Villalobos. “People lost jobs, especially frontline jobs in some of the areas of the economy and people need to be able to recover. This is just one way to make sure we’re supporting that need so they don’t have to think about other things at least for a little bit of time.”
The Central Texas Food Bank, the City of Kyle and the Texas Disposal System hosted this mass food distribution event to help families with food insecurity. Villalobos said that some families have been needing to make a decision between healthcare and food. Having a mass food distribution can at least alleviate their worries on one front.
People using this distribution site come from all walks of life; some of them drove in with new cars and some drove old cars, some were senior citizens while others were young couples driving in with their children. But none of that mattered, because during this pandemic, it is difficult to know who was financially comfortable and lost that comfort, and who has been left with even fewer resources than before.
In light of the circumstances, this was not the first food drive that Kyle has put on this year. From May to August, Kyle hosted several food distribution events. In that time, they provided food for 5,221 households, feeding a total of 23,126 individuals.
“The last count that I have from last event, we did almost 1,200 families,” said Kyle Councilman Michael Tobias. “We’re looking at maybe topping that as well.”
Getting this much food to families in a pandemic uses the efforts of a variety of volunteers. The Kyle Police Department was present and directing the traffic, university students and other community members were volunteering to get the boxes into people’s vehicles. One student came to help because she empathizes with struggling families.
“I used to be on the receiving end,” said Tam Vo, a senior at the University of Texas at Austin. “Throughout high school we would get lunch reduced and free stuff through the government. Seeing the opportunity to be a volunteer and give back, I thought why not do it, especially during the pandemic where a lot of families don’t have jobs and stuff. I just want to contribute my time to do something that’s worthwhile.”
Vo, who plans to go into medical school, added that she is happy to see the types of food items given to families. Instead of just canned goods, boxes contained fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, rice and other protein-rich items. They were also giving away ice cream as a treat for the families.
These drives are not over. For those looking to volunteer or those who need assistance, the next mass food distribution event will be on Nov. 14 and then Dec. 12.