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'It can get a lot worse': Food insecurity in Houston growing problem as COVID-19 cases climb

The Houston Food Bank is seeing long lines and fewer volunteers as they work to distribute more than 800,000 pounds of food every day.

HOUSTON — The coronavirus pandemic is hitting Houston hard. You see it up close in long lines as struggling families wait for food.

"Unfortunately it can get a lot worse," said Brian Greene, President and CEO of the Houston Food Bank.

Greene says if we can't stop the spread of COVID-19, the need will exponentially grow, too.

"Most of the distributions we put in the trunk, I can tell you the trunks we're putting food in belong to cars that are all over the map," said Greene. "People who you can tell were doing fine and then suddenly they weren't."

The Houston Food Bank is distributing 800,000 pounds of food per day. That's 350,000 more pounds than pre-COVID-19. The need for food is going up. The number of volunteers is going down. It's a bad combination.

"The volunteer hit has been huge for us," said Greene. "We went from 85,000 a year, to last month where we only had 2,200 volunteers."

Houston traditions like Super Feast are down volunteers, too. Their Thanksgiving Day feeding will not be a drive-thru giveaway for families.

And it's not just Houston struggling. Across the country, people are waiting in lines for hours to receive food. And it's not because it's a holiday.

"This is not a short term thing, this is not a Thanksgiving thing, we're going to be doing this for a long time," said Greene.

If you want to help the Houston Food Bank, you can sign up to volunteer on their website. And if you need food assistance, you can find a list of free meal distributions this week here.