HometownBrazos County


Producing results at food pantries despite low donations

Michelle Wright and Ben Clarkson
Posted at 3:37 PM, May 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-10 16:37:30-04

BRYAN, Texas — On a rainy Wednesday morning on Cavitt Avenue in Bryan, vehicles round the block waiting in line for food.

Cars line the street in Bryan
Cars wait in line for food at the Salvation Army in Bryan.

“Schools out, so we come and help the volunteers," said Ruby Jackson, a volunteer who has worked on the Salvation Army's food distribution team for 15 years.

It's a well oiled machine at the Salvation Army in Bryan.

There's a team in a "freezer room" that handles meats and dairy, a team in a pantry that handles dry goods and a team of volunteers that push carts of pre-bagged food items to people's vehicles then load it up.

“Kids are out of school," Jackson said.

"They’re eating [their parents] out of the house," she ended with a laugh.

Inside of the pantry Michelle Wright is hard at work with Ben Clarkson, a junior at Texas A&M studying industrial engineering.

“We didn’t have any breakfast stuff," Wright said as she looked at the shelves surrounding the two.

“We probably have been running out of food more than we've been having leftovers for people to get throughout the day," Clarkson added.

Collectively, the duo has helped out for about two and a half years but they laugh and banter together like they've known one another for a lifetime.

Michelle Wright and Ben Clarkson
Michelle Wright and Ben Clarkson work together at the Salvation Army.

The food pantry, like most others in the local area, receive its food from the Brazos Valley Food Bank.

"Our donations are down overall as a season," Ebony Knight, the director of operations at the Food Bank said.

“All of the kiddos and college kids who host food drivers are wrapping it up as they end the school year.”

As June and July approaches, Knight explained that they're more vulnerable around this time of the year.

In turn, food pantries are too.

Andrea Derrig with the Brazos Church Pantry explained over a phone call that they're really struggling to feed families.

She said since SNAP benefits ended in March, they've had to serve 40 to 60 percent more families than they usually do.

She asked that if anyone has any pasta, rice, beans, cereal, peanut butter and canned goods they can donate, they would love to take it.

She said smaller sizes are best, like one pound quantities.

The same goes for the Salvation Army.

“There’s not really much we can order," Slyvia Cook, a four-year employee at the Salvation Army said.

"But we get enough out to families."

Food distribution events are every Wednesday from 9 a.m. until they run out at the Salvation Army of BCS.