America's Second Harvest–The Nation's Food Bank Network is rallying its resources to rush food and grocery products to member food banks serving areas of Louisiana and Texas that were hit by Tropical Storm Edouard yesterday, while continuing to support the disaster relief efforts of Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley (FBRGV), which is still recovering from Hurricane Dolly.
The assistance provided by America's Second Harvest addressed much of the initial disaster needs in the area hit by Hurricane Dolly and served by the FBRGV, but additional help is needed. The Texas Food Bank Network has mobilized Members and in-state partners to help address the ongoing needs in the Rio Grande Valley, an area with an extremely high rate of food insecurity.
"Normally, our agencies serve about 517 meals per day in any given week, whereas they are now serving 3,255 meals per day," said Terri Drefke, executive director of the FBRGV."The number of families we serve has increased significantly; our agencies are reporting that pantry client numbers have doubled. Anyone wishing to donate time, money, or food can learn more by going online at www.foodbankrgv.com and clicking on the Disaster Relief Link for details."
Those in need of food assistance should call the Food Bank RGV at 956-682-8101. Callers are asked to be patient, as Food Bank RGV continues to experience high call volumes. Individuals needing other services, not involving hunger relief, may call the 2-1-1 helpline.
Monetary donations may be made at H-E-B grocery store checkout stands with Help End Hunger coupons. Funds raised by the annual Food Bank RGV Empty Bowls Luncheon and Silent Auction will also be targeted for hunger and disaster relief. The fundraiser is scheduled for Thursday, September 4 from 11 am – 2 pm at the Pharr International Convention Center at 3000 N. Cage in Pharr, TX. The RGV Empty Bowls title sponsor is Capital One Bank which has established a disaster relief fund on behalf of the food bank known as the"Hunger and Disaster Relief Fund for the Rio Grande Valley, Texas".
In addition to emergency family food boxes, America's Second Harvest was able to provide 9,120 ZonePerfect nutrition bars, and 10,440 cans of PediaSure, a nutritional formula drink, which was previously donated by Abbott to the Network's disaster food reserves.
The network stages supplies throughout the country so that they will be readily accessible and quickly moved in the event of a disaster.
As Tropical Storm Edouard headed to landfall, America's Second Harvest began moving truckloads of supplies, typically associated with the initial stage of disaster relief, to member food banks near the Texas and Louisiana border. This initial push of supplies - including 20,736 heater meals, 72,576 bottles of water, and 20,000 pounds of mixed snacks – will provide some basic assistance until the full effects of the storm can be assessed by local officials. The ready-to-eat meals and snack foods are ideal for supporting emergency sheltering operations and for providing food that does not require access to power or water in homes.
During the past year, America's Second Harvest has invested significant and time and resources to build its disaster relief capabilities."We have been focused on creating and training national disaster teams to support our food banks, working with corporate donors supporting our disaster relief operations, and staging resources allowing us to help immediately following major disasters," said Bill McGowan, COO of America's Second Harvest,"the experience of our Members and our Network tells us that we need to be ready to respond quickly to hunger in our communities – regardless of the cause."
Dunkin' Brands Community Foundation, Target Corporation and Kellogg's Corporate Citizenship Fund have been important sponsors of disaster preparedness initiatives in recent years.
"The support of these key corporate sponsors has allowed the America's Second Harvest Network to pre-position emergency food products in strategically designated locations throughout the nation," said Vicki Escarra, President and CEO of America's Second Harvest."Our Network regularly cycles this inventory prior to expiration, thereby insuring that any staged supplies not used for disaster relief in a given year can still help to meet the daily hunger challenges faced by so many communities. We recognize that individuals run the risk of falling into a chronic, hunger insecure situation as they attempt to recover from a nature disaster and we want to make sure individuals, families, and communities can bounce back from any set back that Mother Nature delivers."
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