Last week, Houston Food Bank suffered a devastating loss of perishables when the ammonia refrigeration system, which keeps the food bank’s coolers/freezers operational, had a mechanical error in which a fan broke and hit a coil causing a leak. Approximately 1.8 million pounds – or 62 tractor trailer loads – of product, mainly fresh produce as well as some dairy and bulk grains, were contaminated and destroyed.
Since the community heard about the loss of produce and other items, the Houston Food Bank has been flooded with calls and messages of support as well as an outpouring of donations of money, food and volunteer hours by residents and businesses alike.
Due to the tremendous community response, the Houston Food Bank is currently back to its normal distribution of more than 10 trailerloads of product per day (which is more than 400,000 pounds), delivering both fresh produce and nonperishables to its partners.
“At the Houston Food Bank, we often talk about how individuals and families are often one emergency away from needing food assistance,” says Brian Greene, president/CEO of Houston Food Bank. “It’s something different when we have emergency of our own that impacts our ability to serve the community. But we see it time and again – when Houston is faced with a struggle or crisis, the community comes together in a big way with the common goal of helping others. We are so thankful and appreciative of the love and support you, the Houston community, continues to show the Houston Food Bank and the families we serve.”
The loss of this valuable food is even more devastating because of the timing just before Thanksgiving. The holiday season is an increased time of need for food assistance.
“Because of the amazing response from Houstonians and corporations, there is much to be thankful for,” says Greene. “We are thankful to the Houston community for supporting us in our own time of need with donations of volunteer hours, money and food; to our generous corporate sponsors who are helping us replenish our devastating loss of product; and very thankful to our partner organizations on the front lines distributing food for better lives. We cannot thank the people and businesses of Houston enough for being amazing examples of generosity and caring.”
Here are ways that people can help:
- The Food Bank is in great need of volunteers to handle and process food for distribution. This is all new product, nothing that was impacted by the unfortunate accident is in the coolers. Food, especially produce coming in, needs to be distributed quickly, as it can’t be stored in the coolers just yet. For volunteer information and to sign up, go to houstonfoodbank.org/register.
- Monetary donations always help the Food Bank operate and get food into the community. For every $1 donated, the Food Bank can provide access to 3 meals. To make a monetary, donation, go to houstonfoodbank.org/donatenow
- People can also donate nonperishable items in the Red Barrels at their neighborhood grocery stores – especially canned vegetables which will help get produce to the community since fresh produce is not an item that we can receive from the public due to food safety standards.