High Plains Food Bank breaks annual food distribution record, calls for volunteers

Heart of the High Plains

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The High Plains Food Bank (HPFB) has set a new record when it comes to food distribution, distributing 9,071,302 pounds of food in 2020.

The organization said 59% went to rural counties and 41% went to Amarillo and Canyon.

Zack Wilson, the executive director of the High Plains Food Bank, attributes the record distribution to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The story of this year, obviously, is what COVID has done to our communities and what it’s done to all of our, you know, folks that have been receiving food and opening up with a whole new stream of folks that are seeking food assistance for the very first time in 2020,” said Wilson.

Wilson said the shelf-stable food items they received and distributed skyrocketed in 2020 because of the pandemic, but some other critical food channels took a hit.

“It’s just the other channels and produce and protein that that declined in 2020. And a lot of it due to the, you know, to the pandemic, and some safety concerns that we were still looking at, and trying to understand,” said Wilson. “It could have been in the region of 10 million pounds of food if everything was at full capacity.”

Watch: Wilson talks about the expectation of hitting more than what they did in 2019.

“This shouldn’t overshadow all the great work that was done by our staff last year,” said Wilson. “The number of households served increased dramatically.”

The HPFB said it distributed a total of 7,487,207 meals in 2020. With adjustments made to distribution logistics, the HPFB announced that the ratio of monetary donations to meals provided is now 6 meals for every $1.

 According to the latest research available from Feeding America, about 1 in 6 neighbors, including 1 in 4 children, struggle with food insecurity locally. In addition to providing education, social services assistance, and direct feeding programs, HPFB distributes food through 190 feeding partners to alleviate hunger across the Texas Panhandle.

Need for Volunteers

Due to the increased demand and distribution, the High Plains Food Bank said it is in critical need of volunteer support to get food out to individuals and families across the Texas Panhandle. 

Volunteer groups may inspect and sort donated products or pack food boxes for individuals, seniors and families. 

The food bank is actively seeking individuals or small groups of up to 15 people: families, coworkers, church groups, etc. to volunteer in the warehouse. 

Volunteer hours are:

  • Monday – Friday:
    • 8 a.m. – noon
    • 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
    • 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Saturdays
    • 9 a.m.- noon

To register your group to volunteer at the HPFB website, or for all of the details and requirements for volunteering, click here.

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