WACO, Texas – The Shepherd’s Heart Food Pantry is one of many food banks in the area.
They are one of the largest faith-based food banks in Central Texas. Last year, they fed over 41,000 families. They do four to five distributions a week at 16 different locations around Waco.
“This food bank serves thousands of families each month using 16 different distribution sites across the city,” Executive Director Bob Gager said.
Volunteer Michael Giacometti says he has been at the food pantry for over six years because it’s just a good feeling.
“Why not better to help your fellow man and volunteer?,” Giacometti said.
About half of the food they get is bought from the Food Bank in Austin. The other half they recover from the community. This means last year they bought 1.3 million pounds of food and recovered 1.4 million pounds.
They can feed a family for $5, and that $5 is going to purchase about 70 pounds of food on average – and it’s worth about $225 retail.
They are about a month away from moving in to their new building where they can store more food. Gager says the number of people he has seen in need of food has doubled in the last few weeks.
“Unemployment benefits getting cut off at the end of August, I guess, that sort of thing is causing people to come back because the need is there,” Gager said. “They just thought they had it covered while they were getting money from the government. Now that’s not there. They’re looking for help.”
The USDA reported Wednesday that in 2020, 10.5 percent of households were food insecure at some point during the year, which is the same as 2019. Very low food insecurity remained similar between the years, with 2020 at 3.9 percent of households and 2019 at 4.1 percent.
“We continue to do God’s work, is basically what it is,” Giacometti said.
Gager said the best way to help is to volunteer to drive or to donate money. You can learn more on their website.
In addition, Nexstar Media Group has committed to donating $2 million in television air-time and financial support to Feeding America through 2023. During September, they will air $600,000 worth of public service announcements on behalf of Feeding America.