BRYAN, TX — In June the Brazos Valley Food Bank announced one of its employees tested positive for COVID-19. Despite being impacted by the virus, they never stopped helping the community.
Millions of Texans struggle with food insecurity, according to feedingtexas.org. Some of those are living right in the Brazos Valley.
"It helped a lot because, now more with this pandemic," said Catalina Hernandez in Spanish. She is a resident of the Brazos Valley and receiving assistance from the Brazos Church Pantry.
Helping people like Hernandez is why the food bank exists, but when one of their own tested positive for COVID-19, they immediately informed the public.
”It’s important to us as an organization to be transparent,” said Shannon Avila, Brazos Valley Food Bank Programs Manager.
She said they were forced to close their warehouse for a little over a week, but somehow food still made it to the tables of those in need.
”[The food bank] had some very diminished service during that time, but still we're able to serve our agencies in a more, let's say triage fashion," said Avila.
Since then, the food bank makes sure everyone's healthy. Changes in the way the food bank operates have also been implemented.
”Temping people and screening as they were coming in and social distancing,” explained Avila.
“Prior to the pandemic, everything was done inside the pantry. Now everything is done outdoors since the COVID crisis hit," said Tom McDougal, president of the Brazos Church Pantry.
When the COVID-19 crisis hit the food bank, the staff stayed on course and helped those struggling by providing them with the food they needed despite the internal turmoil they were experiencing.
”We had a board member who stepped up and said, "You know I’ll figure it out. I’ll come run the warehouse and do what I need to do to help,"” said Avila.
Adapting to change is what the staff of the Brazos Valley Food did to overcome obstacles. In the end, they kept the pantry doors open and never lost sight of feeding a community in need while keeping everyone safe.