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Local food pantries gearing up for busy holiday season

Posted at 9:09 AM, Nov 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-17 10:47:03-05

BRYAN, Texas — The holidays are some of the busiest times of the year for many industries. Hospitality, retail, the postal service, just to name a few.

There’s no expectation when it comes to local food pantries, too. In fact, if anyone could tell you that, it’s Adrea Derrig.

She’s volunteered at the Brazos Church Pantry for the past 13 years and truly understands the ebb and flow of the need for food in the Brazos Valley.

“It just inspires you to keep going, because you see how people are helped, and you see their needs being met,” she explained.

Most weekdays you’ll find her bagging up and hanging out food at the church pantry, alongside a team of volunteers.

“It just seems like such a worthy way to spend your time and efforts to help people that are in need. You just want to make sure that they're taken care of,” said Derrig.

After talking with Mark Jackson, the chief development officer of the Central Texas Food Bank, he explained just how dire the need for food is around the holidays, pandemic or not.

“Pre-pandemic, every single year, we would see a spike in need in the community and requests for food,” he started. “Over the years, [we] have really done what we can to plan for that and have extra resources on hand.”

Last year, it was an unanswered question the Food Bank was posed with, how can they efficiently distribute food with social distancing guidelines and strict restrictions?

They went to the drawing board and the solutions they came up with, like drive-thru delivery, and pre-packaged food, are here to stay.

“We learned some things that I think have made us more efficient and better in the base of this, that will probably stick around as well,” Jackson said. “The main thing that we're laser-focused on is, is distributing more food because we're still falling short of meeting the need.”

As pantries across Texas focus on continuing to feed the need, volunteers, like Derrig, are staying strong and continuing to help those who need it most.

“This community is so amazing to come alongside others who want to give,” she said. “It blesses everybody.”

For more information on the Brazos Church Pantry, visit their website.

For a list of local food distributions and pantries, visit the Brazos Valley Food Bank's website.