Houston's plunge into freezing temperatures is highlighting the issue of so many area families in need of a warm meal. "Despite everything we're doing now about 50,000 people go hungry each day in the greater Houston area including about 5,000 children," says President of the Houston Food Bank Brian Greene.
At first glance a woman pushing a shopping cart and picking out fresh fruit, veggies and reaching in large glass refrigerators for milk and eggs, simply looks like a shopper on a grocery run but for Deon Hoffman this trip for food is so much more than that. "I'm tired of being stressed. I'm tired of being worried," explains Hoffman. We met Hoffman as she was pushing that shopping cart, thankful to be receiving food from Houston Food Bank's Emergency Pantry. Without this food that's being given to her she says her family would go without. "Lost my job, lost my house and I'm trying to get back on my feet," Hoffman says. "I have never needed any type of assistance. I have always worked full time," says Hoffman. A year ago she says she lost her job. Her husband, according to Hoffman, is an Iraq War army veteran who works part time earning minimum wage.
"We can't even go out and have a family night, a movie night because everything we use is on bills," says Hoffman.
"To have someone who served seven tours in Iraq and Afghanistan making $7 an hour and having to survive on food stamps, we're going to work to see if we can get him a job," explains Congressman Gene Green. Green is at the food bank talking about the need for food donations and greater grocery assistance especially after the recent cuts to the federal food stamp program. The average family now receives about $4 a day for meals. "We can still work on balancing our budget and still remember to take care of people," Green explains.
President of the Houston Food Bank Brian Greene says 50% of the people who turn to the food bank for help actually work but don't make enough to always buy food.
"It's not easy. It really isn't. Like I tell everybody don't take things for granted. Make sure you have a back up plan because if you don't you'll be right where I'm at," says Hoffman.
After hearing a story like this most of us ask 'how can I help?'. The easiest thing? The next time you're grocery shopping, pick up and pay for a pre-packed sack of groceries in the front of the store and put it in the marked Houston Food Bank barrel. The food will then go to area families in need. Nearly every Houston area grocery store participates.