Hometown Highlight: High Plains Food Bank
In an age of convenience and abundance, it’s often hard to imagine going without food. However, in reality, there are 4,320,050 Texans that find themselves “food insecure,” according to FeedingAmerica.org. In the Texas Panhandle, one in seven struggle with food insecurity – including one in four children. This is why the High Plains Food Bank (HPFB) in Amarillo has made it its mission “to alleviate hunger in the Texas Panhandle.”
Founded in 1982, HPFB is a nonprofit organization that serves 29 counties across the Texas Panhandle by partnering with 180 different organizations to provide food directly to people in need.
“Individuals and families are still having a hard time making ends meet and place food on the table – especially in our rural areas,” said Zack Wilson, HPFB Executive Director. “Without the community’s support to help us continue our mission, many would go without each day. In 2017, we distributed 8.2 million pounds of food (which was a record for us). Of this amount, 3 million pounds was fresh produce. It’s crucial that we support those in need and in our growing senior population – and the community’s support makes this possible each day.”
For those who are “food insecure,” which refers to the USDA’s measure of lack of access to enough food needed to live a healthy lifestyle, the HPFB is able to help meet their food needs through donations and various programs including: Kids Café, Direct Mobile Distribution, a senior adult food program, and nutrition education through The Garden at HPFB. The food bank also assists individuals with the application process for SNAP, CHIP and Medicaid.
As a member of Feeding America, HPFB has been able to offer their Kids Café program since 2003. This specific program serves at-risk children; providing them with daily meals at no charge during non-school hours and during the summer. Through this program, children also receive food safety lessons, nutrition education and hands-on instruction.
In 2009, HPFB opened The Garden, which works hand-in-hand with their nutrition education program. The one-acre urban farm helps teach the Amarillo community about nutrition and self-sufficiency through gardening with on-site training and workshop opportunities.
While always in need of volunteers to help with donation sorting, maintaining The Garden and additional volunteer opportunities, information can be found on the HPFB’s website by clicking here. If you desire to donate food items, current warehouse needs include: canned vegetables, canned meat, pasta and pasta sauce (no glass containers), peanut butter, boxed dinners, rice and beans.