Now is a time to care and to share our time and our talents. Last month my interest was really aroused when I was lucky enough to participate in a trade show where a representative from our Rio Grande Valley Food Bank had a booth directly across from mine. I had often wondered exactly how our RGV Food Bank operates and here was my chance to learn more. Have my eyes been opened? I learned a lot. Now it is time to share some of that information. There is not room to share all that I learned so I will just hit the high points.
Our local Rio Grande Valley Food Bank was incorporated in 1986. Today it has grown to be the largest charity in South Texas. Our local food bank, with headquarters in Pharr, provides food to families in Hidalgo, Cameron, and Willacy counties.
Since the pandemic, there has been a 7% annual increase in need. In 2019, a total of 40 million pounds of food and fresh produce was distributed to food insecure families in our three-county area. In 2020, over 60 million families in the US turned to Food Banks for help. And this is in a land of plenty.
Can you imagine? In our Rio Grande Valley up to 146,000 families experience food insecurity. One family out of every four is in need. Those families are not just the elderly or veterans in need. Those families have kids who wake up daily not knowing if when they come home from school, if they will have a supper meal. How can they concentrate on learning when they are hungry? Those families need help.
What impressed me the most was that through volunteer giving of time and generous donations as well as reduced prices on fresh produce provided by local farmers and packers, the RGV Food Bank is operating on two cents out of every one dollar donated. Ninety-eight cents is spent directly on food that goes to families in need. A donation of $5 will provide 25 meals. That is amazing! How do they do that?
Mainly the RGV Food Bank depends on volunteers who donate their time. Groups volunteer to help sort, store and pack the food and produce to be distributed to about 275 partner distribution points. The Food Bank needs more volunteers to keep their costs down.
Volunteer time is valuable and reduces overhead costs. Maybe we can't afford to give dollars. But we can care, we can share by giving of our time. The RGV Food Bank is desperate for volunteers. To volunteer your time or to make a donation, call (956) 904-4535 and speak with Olivia Lucio.
Yes, we care. And yes, we can share. Yes, we can make a difference.