During much of the spring Texas dealt with a series of severe rain storms and several tornadoes. Seventy counties received official disaster status from the state, and thousands of families were affected by this weather event. Several of the affected counties also received a presidential disaster declaration. Whenever a disaster afflicts Texas, Feeding Texas (a Feeding America-member state association) food banks are on the front lines providing food, water and other necessary items. They expertly set up mobile distribution points, assemble thousands of emergency food boxes for affected families and make sure that local pantries remain stocked and stable.
When a disaster proves too much for one food bank to handle, Feeding Texas quickly steps in. We coordinate with the state and other providers, such as Feeding America, H.E.B. Grocery, Salvation Army, Red Cross, and our member food banks, so that relief reaches families quickly and the "second disaster" of an unorganized response can be avoided.
Many donors may be surprised to learn that uncoordinated donations are such a burden. Of course, food banks are extremely grateful for the outpouring of generosity. However, the arrival of unplanned donations can add the complexity of finding temporary storage to the shoulders of stretched food bank employees, and food banks may find it difficult to sort and distribute donations as quickly as they come in to their warehouses.
Feeding Texas helps its member food banks coordinate donations, streamline their messaging to the public and provide frequent updates to all our partners. Our Austin office helps staff a permanent charitable presence at the State Operations Center bunker, where we coordinate our relief work with the Governor’s office, state officials and other statewide partners active in Texas Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD).
Working with our partners, Feeding Texas provides efficient and effective relief in both the wake of a storm or for the everyday crisis of hunger that impacts millions. Together, we can help put food on the tables of millions of families – no matter the weather.
*Gaye Lynn Bailey is the program director and disaster coordinator at Feeding Texas. Learn more about how Feeding America nationwide network of food banks prepares for disaster relief efforts.