The Houston Food Bank, along with many other social service organizations, is suffering from a shortage of supplies and funds as a result of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
This year the Houston Food Bank distributed more than 6 million pounds of food above the normal output. All of that was to feed those stranded after the storms as well as evacuees who relocated to Houston. Brian Greene is the new president and CEO of the Houston Food Bank. He was hired to start in early September, but was working as executive director of America’s Second Harvest Food Bank of New Orleans at the time and stayed there until after Katrina. He says there is an ongoing impact to the food back from the hurricanes.
To hold all of the food during the hurricanes, the food bank operated out of eight warehouses. Greene says that’s a record for the country. They’re now down to five and will be at three by the end of the year. But they’ll still have to pay the leases on two of the extra warehouses. Greene says the holidays are an essential time for any non-profit because this is when people give more and much of the year’s support is generated now. But he says donations are down and even food drives and canned good donation are dropping from normal rates. Which means they’re looking for other alternatives to maintain services.
An increase in fresh food supplies and the higher number of people still needing service tranlates to an increase in other needs at the food bank. Greene says they need more volunteers to distribute all the food and they’re looking into the possibility of building a bigger facility. And he says although the needs are great, he is amazed by the generosity of Houstonians.
Every month under normal circumstances the food bank feeds 250,000 people in the region.