A quick update on Houston Food Bank operations and partnerships:
HFB’s Role: Houston Food Bank and its Partners provide essential services and will continue to do so. They will remain operational, while utilizing the best available safety precautions. Because food is essential, they will remain open and serve our community.
HFB ramped up: The people served by Houston Food Bank, almost by definition, do not have the ability or the means to have food reserves. The Food Bank has ramped up distribution to continue to meet the critical need for food that has increased due to the COVID-19 situation, specifically for the vulnerable population including people who don’t have other access to food, are impacted by school closings, those whose work hours have been cut, etc.
Currently, Houston Food Bank is operating at 150% distribution. Currently distributing approx. 750,000 lbs. daily.
Thank you to the Houston community for understanding the needs of our vulnerable population who are depending on these distributions the most.
Food Bank staff is following CDC recommendations for social distancing measures and enhanced sanitation, and we are encouraging all partners to employ and promote social distancing practices such as drive-through and appointment-based distributions. We are adjusting daily to meet the needs of the community and adapting our logistics and operations to help people in the safest and most effective ways possible.
If you need food assistance, Houston Food Bank is here to help: Please visit houstonfoodbank.org for a list of pantries near you. You can also call our helpline at 832-369-9390.
Complete list of sites and services: https://www.houstonfoodbank.org/covid19/
Working together with school districts to supplement their efforts to ensure children who rely on meals at school are still receiving access to nutritious food.
Houston Food Bank loves being able to partner with other social service organizations as well as businesses to create important solutions.
YMCA of Greater Houston
HFB is partnering with YMCA of Greater Houston to facilitate an on-site daycare to ease concern and stress of Houston Food Bank employees.
There are also some YMCA employees, with Harris County support, who are performing other functions vital to Houston Food Bank’s operations such as sorting, inspecting, and packing food, housekeeping and cleaning, data entry, and distributing food.
To help HFB continue meeting the community’s need, Harris County Commissioners Court – at the request of Commissioner Rodney Ellis – on Tuesday, March 24, voted to allow the county to enter into an agreement with HFB to help the nonprofit agency continue its mission to provide food to low-income people and seniors during the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
Per the agreement, HFB will provide approximately 440,000 pounds of food to Harris County residents each week during the public health disaster. The agency, which has a shortage of volunteers therefore needs more workers to help sort, inspect and pack food, will temporarily employ workers through their network partner, The YMCA, as well as utilize Harris County employees who will continue to serve the community since their jobs have been suspended because of the pandemic.
The County will pay HFB a weekly rate for four consecutive weeks. That money will pay for services and other temporary workers, including laid-off restaurant and hospitality workers. Harris County will pay salaries for its workers participating in the program.
Marine Foods Express/Jason Poon
Marine Foods Express nonprofit MFE Food is Love has provided over 360,000 meals to HFB through monetary donations and securing supplemental workers through their nonprofit MFE Food is Love. They have secured 64 supplemental workers that have worked 1421 hours, 31 shifts, and an average of 15 workers per shift. In total, volunteers have provided 48,900 meals and counting. During monetary and in kind donations MFE has provided 311,250 meals.
Working with CrowdSource Rescue, crowdsourcerescue.com, there are Remote Volunteer Opportunities, helping deliver food to people who are most vulnerable: seniors/elderly
What is CrowdSource Rescue?We are working with CrowdSource Rescue, a Houston-based non-profit and public-safety grade platform that uses next-generation technology to quickly connect both professional first-responders and vetted volunteers with response cases immediately before, during, and immediately after a disaster. They are matching volunteers with food requests coming from elderly. The volunteer will go to a Food Bank partner site to pick up the food and deliver to the individual.
Houston-based Brothers Produce offered to assist the organization in their logistics schedule in any way possible. They committed to keep their employees under their payroll while helping Houston Food Bank to get food out into the community. Based on their logistical needs, Houston Food Bank welcomed six of Brothers’ drivers with their trucks working from Monday to Friday. The Brothers Produce team has been supplemental to the Food Bank’s Retail Pick-up Program, by picking up an average of 60 pallets of fresh produce daily (equates to three tractor trailer loads per day). In addition to the logistical support, the Food Bank warehouse team has also received five warehouse helpers in order to assist with general activities.
Houston Food Bank needs volunteers. In order to get food packed and out to the community, as always, we rely on volunteers. For individuals and families that are quarantining together who feel comfortable and are well, they can register online at houstonfoodbank.org to find a shift. We are practicing social distancing with volunteers and staff; temperatures are being taken as volunteers arrive; they have a “wash in and wash out” policy where volunteers are asked to wash their hands upon arrival and when they leave, and can wash hands at multiple stations while working; gloves are provided; and they have individual and small group volunteer opportunities available. To help slow the spread of COVID-19, the CDC is now recommending using a cloth face covering in public settings. Therefore, Houston Food Bank is asking all volunteers to bring their own face coverings when coming to volunteer.
The CDC has provided helpful tutorials on making your own masks from various materials and with varying degrees of craft skill needed: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/DIY-cloth-face-covering-instructions.pdf