Episode 66: Volunteering and Giving to the Houston Food Bank

Welcome to another episode of Spotlight Houston, where we take a closer look at our community’s challenges. In this episode, our host, Blanca Quezada, sits down with Sarai LaTony, Volunteer Experiences Manager for the Houston Food Bank, to shed light on our city’s ongoing struggle against hunger. Join us for this episode as we explore the sad reality of hunger in Houston, the role of volunteers, and the financial support necessary to combat this ongoing crisis.

As the holiday season fades, the stark reality remains: many in our community face the harsh truth of food insecurity. Tune in as Sarai unveils the extensive efforts of the Houston Food Bank, the largest food bank in the country. Discover the somber statistics of their distribution – 120 million meals across 18 counties through 1,600 community partners.

While the numbers are staggering, the grim truth persists: volunteers are desperately needed. Sarai delves into the volunteer opportunities available.

Financial assistance is another plea from the Houston Food Bank. With the scale of their operations, monetary support is crucial to maintaining a steady flow of food into the warehouse and out to the community. Sarai breaks down the impact of every $1 donated, equating to 3 meals on the table, thanks to strategic partnerships with manufacturers and distributors.

For more details visit: https://www.houstonfoodbank.org or call 713-223-3700.

Those in need of assistance can find details at www.houstonfoodbank.org/find-help/ or call 832-369-9390.

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Timestamps

00:00 Quick introduction to the Houston Food Bank.
The teacher’s aid program offers free school supplies to qualifying teachers in high-risk school districts with underprivileged students. Teachers can schedule an appointment on the program’s website and visit the teacher’s aid building to receive up to 8lb. worth of supplies for their classrooms. The program aims to support students in need by providing items such as pens, highlighters, tissues, and paper.

06:17 The partnerships.
They collaborate with multiple pantries to distribute meals to families in need. Hosted a telethon at Houston Food Bank to provide holiday meal boxes, weighing 39 pounds with chicken, produce, and sides. Volunteers assisted in creating the meal boxes.

09:59 About the volunteers.
Volunteer base includes students, adult leaders, and corporate groups like Shell, Chevron, H E B, and Bank of America.

13:19 Houston Food Bank programs.
Meals provided to high-need students in designated school districts, some in high-risk areas. Assistance with government aid applications, including for the community assistance program, is offered to those in need, including help for those facing language barriers or unfamiliar with the application process.

16:30 The volunteer experience.
Volunteers find fulfillment in providing nutritious meals to thousands of people, realizing the significant impact they have each day.

17:51 More about volunteers.
The annual holiday telethon in November involves volunteers working at the call center to provide support to families in need, ensuring they receive a Christmas meal. The event typically spans three days, with ships operating into the evening to accommodate the high demand for assistance. The volunteers find joy in helping people and feel grateful for the appreciation expressed by those they assist.

22:37 More about their programs.
Free monthly food box available to those who qualify. Teacher’s aide program offers free school supplies to eligible educators.

24:32 Closing remarks.
Seeking feedback and story ideas. Let me know.

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