The Houston Food Bank is getting global attention following recent visits by some high profile politicians.
HOUSTON – The Houston Food Bank receives, following recent visits from President Joe Biden, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez received worldwide attention.
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“Interviews from literally every corner of the world, and as a result there have been more donations,” said Brian Greene, CEO of Houston Food Bank.
Greene first received a call from the White House last Tuesday.
“The next day there would be an advance team to check us out,” Greene said of the caller’s message. “I wasn’t even sure it was a prank call.”
Three days later, Greene gave the Bidens a tour.
“It was really fun to see how animated you were both with the volunteers, especially the President,” he said.
There were serious discussions between those carefree moments. Greene said he and Bidens covered the winter storm’s impact on low-income families and general demand from all 200 food banks across the country.
“We talked more about, ‘Us as a society, where do we want to go and how can organizations like us help?'” Greene recalled.
Greene also shared the need for the USDA to increase its excess food shipments.
“We certainly don’t see the lines getting that much shorter,” he said.
Ocasio-Cortez from New York visited and volunteered six days before the president’s visit. She helped raise more than $ 5 million for the Houston Food Bank and four other Texas groups.
Greene said the food bank serves more than 80,000 families in 18 counties in southeast Texas each week through a network of 1,500 community partners.
These include West Houston Assistance Ministries (WHAM), which sources more than 85% of the items in their pantry from the Houston Food Bank.
“The demand continues to grow,” said Verita Duncan, Food Pantry Manager at WHAM.
Duncan said she could see an impact from the Houston Food Bank’s high profile attendees last week.
“We’ve had reviews about this and we can see the difference in our ordering guide,” said Duncan. “Instead of having two or three lines, you have a full page of items to order from.”
People in need of help or interested in volunteering with or donating to the Houston Food Bank can visit houstonfoodbank.org or call 713-223-3700.
Anyone seeking help, donating to WHAM or volunteering can visit whamministries.org or call 713-780-2727.