WILLIAMSON COUNTY, TX — The Patch Holiday Food Drive is raising money for Feeding America and the food banks, pantries and meal programs in Williamson County.
The cumulative effect of 39 weeks of historic joblessness and business failures because of the coronavirus pandemic is as plain as the bare cupboards in millions of kitchens across America: As many as 50 million people, including about 11.2 percent of the population of Williamson County,don’t have enough to eat.
You can help by giving to Feeding America in Patch’s Holiday Food Drive.
Contributions are tax-deductible, so if you give now, you’ll be able to include your donation in your 2020 tax return.
The food drive runs through Dec. 31. For every $1 you give, Feeding America is able to supply 10 meals.
Many of the families experiencing food insecurity don’t qualify for federal nutrition programs, and they need to rely on their food banks and other hunger relief organizations to have enough to eat, according to Feeding America.
Patch and Feeding America teamed last summer to address the growing hunger crisis in America, connecting readers with the organization’s 200 member food banks that serve 60,000 food pantries and meal programs, and providing an easy way to donate money to help their neighbors.
Some places in Travis County that will benefit are:
Murphy Park Pavilion, every third Friday of the month from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Holy Temple Church, each second and fourth Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church on every fourth Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Feeding America predicted last summer that 50 million people, including 17 million children, could face hunger by year’s end because of the pandemic.
To put that into perspective, about 35 million people in the U.S. struggled with hunger in 2019, according to the latest report on household food insecurity by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Households with children are the most vulnerable to food insecurity. Before the pandemic, more than 10 million children lived in food-insecure households.
Feeding America projects the food insecurity rate in Williamson County will rise to 14.3 percent in 2020, up from 11.2 percent in 2018.
In announcing its participation during Giving Tuesday — the global day of giving when altruistic-minded people donate to their favorite causes — Central Texas Food Bank officials illustrated their mission by describing one of the 40,000 residents the group helps each year.
"Sylvia's husband is a sergeant in the Army stationed at Fort Hood in Killeen," officials wrote. "Financial hardships make life of a military family tough. Between paychecks, Sylvia nourishes her familiy with extra groceries from Operation Once in a Lifetime, a Capital Area Food Bank Partner Agency that serves active duty military, veterans and their families.
"No one should ever have to go hungry, especially during the holidays. With your donation, we can provide nutritious meals to families like Sylvia's and show them how much we appreciate their service to our country."
Feeding America says that 80 percent of its food banks — or 4 in 5 — are serving more people than they were at the same time last year. With the pandemic worsening during the holiday season, many people who never before worried about how they’d pay for a holiday meal are turning to food banks for the first time.
From the beginning of the pandemic in March, Feeding America distributed 4.2 billion meals — enough to provide every U.S. resident with breakfast, lunch and dinner for just over four days.
In the first four months of the pandemic, 4 in 10 people were first-time visitors to food banks, according to Feeding America.
How To Support The Patch Holiday Food Drive
Patch has teamed with Feeding America to help raise awareness on behalf of the millions of Americans facing hunger. Feeding America, which supports 200 food banks across the country, estimates that in 2020, more than 50 million Americans will not have enough nutritious food to eat due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. This is a Patch social good project; Feeding America receives 100 percent of donations. Find out how you can donate in your community or find a food pantry near you.