By Brittany Anderson
HAYS COUNTY — Food insecurity in our community is a year-round problem, but during the holidays when many are gathering with loved ones around big tables of food, this problem can be exacerbated.
The Hays County Food Bank (HCFB), which serves all of Hays County, is always on a mission to help feed families and erase the stigma associated with needing food assistance. The numbers are staggering: so far in 2022, HCFB has served more than 122,000 people with nearly 940,000 pounds of food distributed.
Now, with the colder months among us, combating food insecurity by providing access to assistance is needed more than ever. Recently, HCFB’s 16th Annual Turkeys Tackling Hunger campaign saw 1,500 households in need receive a Thanksgiving meal of turkey, plus sides and fresh produce.
“There was a greater need this year for sure,” said Iris Tate, communications coordinator for HCFB. “We opened registration later this year, but we still filled our max capacity of 1,500 pretty quickly. The need is definitely higher now, even more than during the peak of the pandemic, just with the rising costs of everything.”
While Turkeys Tackling Hunger is the food bank’s only “holiday” themed event, Tate said that the food bank will continue with its regular distribution schedule throughout Christmastime and into the New Year; the food bank will also be at Budafest on Dec. 3.
Tate encouraged the community to get into the holiday spirit and put together their own food drives with their organizations, churches, gyms or apartment complexes. She noted that monetary donations can be tax-deductible and just $1 can help provide three meals.
Donations to the food bank also benefit its “last mile sites,” or entities like schools, churches and shelters who hold their own micro-distributions. Currently, the food bank is working with 22 last mile sites, which helps to extend its reach to even more community members in need.
Of course, initiatives like this wouldn’t be possible without the hundreds of community members who come far and wide to support the food bank, whether it’s through monetary or food donations or volunteering their time to collect or distribute food.
“We have great volunteer support,” Tate said. “An overwhelming amount came [to Turkeys Tackling Hunger]and were able to experience the joy of handing out meals. Our clients are super appreciative, and we try to make it a fun celebration … We’re really grateful for the continued support from our donors, volunteers and partners. We quite literally could not do it without the community’s support. We’re so grateful to continue those relationships.”
For more information on how to donate, volunteer or receive assistance (including finding a food distribution schedule or getting help to sign up for food stamps), visit the Hays County Food Bank’s website at www.haysfoodbank.org or Facebook page at