At grocery stores throughout greater Houston, shoppers purchase and donate nonperishables into Red Barrels, each assigned to a neighborhood food pantry that collects and distributes the food. Consumers fill the barrels with purchased nonperishable foods.
- Food can be found in prepackaged, marked bags at the grocery store
- Barrels are located near the exit of the store
- The red barrels are in more than 300 grocery stores, and counting
Red Barrels started in 1986 as a three-month trial program and debuted in 20 stores. A founding board member of the End Hunger Network, Barbara Falik, had seen a program similar to this while visiting another city - that program used bins at grocery stores to collect pet food for animal shelters. She thought if they could get people to give pet food while doing their grocery shopping, couldn't the same be done for people food.
Today, the Red Barrels collect more than a million and a half pounds of food each year.
How to get involved
Contact Brooke Sinclair to find out more information on becoming a Red Barrel Agency or to host a Red Barrel. Here is a list of the most-needed items.
(check with your local grocer to be sure it has a red barrel)