WACO, Texas — Between the pandemic, winter storms, and inflation, food banks across the state stayed busy during the last two years. Now the state is stepping in to help out with the Department of Agriculture now investing $94 million into local food banks.
Roughly one in seven Texans faces food insecurity, according to Feeding Texas. That number is higher among certain populations like communities of color and among families with children.
"At the height of the pandemic, we were seeing tens of thousands of families every week," Feeding Texas CEO Celia Cole told 25 News. "If you look at the number of people in Texas who are food insecure, it's 4.5 million people. It goes up and down."
As that number continues to trend upwards, Cole said investment from the state could be really beneficial.
"What this investment does is it gives us the means to invest in infrastructure and technology in our distribution networks so that we are prepared to continue to meet the demand related to the pandemic, but also to build our capacity to respond to future crisis," she said.
The money will be used to expand warehouses, set up satellite locations in hard-to-reach areas, and continue mobile distributions.
"The cost of living increases, supply chain challenges might slow down sort of that investment of it," Cole said. "But it's a two-year investment of funds so we have two years to make the changes we want to make with these resources."
Feeding Texas has 21 food banks across the state, together hitting every Texas county.
"There's 21 food banks in the Feed Texas network and they each act as a hub for a geographic area, but together they serve every county," Cole said. "So this is very much a statewide investment."