Frequently Asked Questions
A food bank is a non-profit organization that collects and distributes food to hunger relief charities. Food usually comes from various sources in the food industry, like grocery stores and wholesalers, that have thousands of pounds of food to give away – food that could otherwise be thrown away.
We warehouse the food, and with help from volunteers, sort, pack and redistribute it to the community. Traditionally, a food bank does not distribute food directly to those in need.
Our partners are responsible for determining how the food is distributed to individuals in need. Each year, 800,000 people are fed.
The Houston Food Bank puts high priority on making wholesome, nutritious foods available to our partners. Much of what we distribute is fresh produce, dairy products, fresh meats, and other refrigerated and frozen products. Last year, food for 104 million nutritious meals left our docks; that includes, canned fruits and vegetables, pasta, fruit juices, and many other types of nonperishable foods.
Food comes to us from farmers, grocery stores and other retailers, distributors, wholesale, and other food industry sources. In addition, kindhearted members of our community hold food drives that can bring in literally tons of food.
While we do receive gifts from corporations and foundations, as well as public grants, we rely on donations from generous individuals who open their hearts and checkbooks to help the Houston Food Bank achieve our mission of providing food for better lives.
The Houston Food Bank is scrupulous in making sure that our donors make a good investment.
The Houston Food Bank is located on I-10 East, just inside the 610 East Loop. As a landmark, we are on the opposite, or north, side of the freeway across from the Budweiser plant.
If you are on I-10 heading east and away from downtown Houston, exit on Gellhorn, the last exit before the 610 East Loop. At Gellhorn, turn left under the freeway, then left onto the I-10 East feeder heading west, or back toward Downtown. Portwall is the first street on the right. Look for directional signs on the feeder.
If you are on I-10 heading West or toward downtown Houston, you’ll pass the 610 East Loop, then exit on McCarty, the first exit after the Loop. At McCarty, make a U-turn and head up the I-10 feeder to the intersection with Gellhorn. At Gellhorn, turn left under the freeway, then left onto the I-10 East feeder heading west, or back toward Downtown. Portwall is the first street on the right. Look for directional signs on the feeder.
Need Food Assistance
Call the Houston Food Bank at 832-369-9390, Monday – Friday, 7:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m., Saturday 7:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., and Sunday 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. We can help you identify a hunger relief partner that serves your part of town.
For safety purposes, the minimum age for volunteering is six years of age. Volunteers under the age of 16 MUST be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
Food donations come in all sizes. If you have a few grocery bags or a few small boxes full of food that you’d like to drop off, then you can come to the lobby of the Houston Food Bank. Lobby hours are Monday – Friday, 7:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m., Saturday 7:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., and Sunday 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Larger-scale donations of food are received through our warehouse from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday – Friday. Donations must be brought to the warehouse. Please call 713-547-8643 before coming. If this time slot does not work, we do have some day slots available.
We are grateful to our friends in the community who hold food drives: they not only generate food – they generate awareness of the terrible problem of hunger in our community.
Food contributed through food drives or individual donations must be nonperishable. The item we distribute the most is peanut butter, always a welcome donation. Protein in various forms is important, and helps us provide a nutritious blend of foods.
Donating food provides a variety of nutritious, quality products for which we are grateful; however, money goes much further. The Houston Food Bank can stretch your dollar through our partnerships with the food industry. In fact, for every dollar donated we are able to obtain and distribute $6 in food – enough for three meals.