Volunteers see growing numbers of hungry around Houston


by Larry Seward / KHOU 11 News


Posted on July 17, 2014 at 5:22 PM

Updated Thursday, Jul 17 at 5:22 PM

HOUSTON – The Houston Food Bank is partnering with KHOU 11 News to provide meals to area families in need. Already, some volunteers are taking action.

Each day, loading doors rise at the Houston Food Bank’s warehouse. Trucks dock and then the bridge to feed Houston’s hungry works round the clock.

“People are in need,” Jesse Mendoza, of Second Mile Mission, said. “It looks like they’re invisible, but they’re not. They’re there.”

Mendoza sees people in need every day. Most are families. He drives for Fort Bend County’s Second Mile Mission. Twice a week, he comes to the Houston Food Bank and loads up on food. It is then sorted and distributed from the charity’s pantry.

Nine years ago, Mendoza said his group fed 30 families a day. Now, it’s 60.

“I see their faces smiling when they get their food,” Mendoza said. “Many times they don’t have anything in their refrigerator.”

Donors stock the Food Bank’s warehouse year round. Still, census data suggests 66,000 people around Houston go hungry every day.

“They could be your neighbor,” said Brian Greene, president of the Houston Food Bank. “In many cases, they may be your neighbor.”

Greene said need is rising. It always does during summer months when children are out of school and low-income families are forced to find extra meals. So, they’re looking for a boost.

“We’ve got the big food drive (starting Friday),” Greene said. “(I) hope that it really is a (success).”

The Food Bank and partners, including KHOU 11 News, are collecting canned goods, boxed food and meals. What those who give get in return is the kind of thing that drives Mendoza to and from the Food Bank every week.

“When you see their faces, when you see the need, (giving) fills you up,” Mendoza said. “It makes you feel like you’re doing the right thing.”