CENTRAL TEXAS — 25 News' Feed the Need food drive comes to a close on Friday, which means there is still time to make a donation if you have not already. The dollar amount donated this year is lagging behind last year's total, but there may be a couple reasons behind that.
Summer is usually the most difficult time of year for food pantries to keep supplies flowing. It's what the executive director of The Shepherd's Heart, Robert Gager, calls a 'donation drought.'
"We're at a point right now where this is our lowest time of income, our income is the lowest, and our food donations are lower than they've ever been," said Gager.
Last month the Food Care Center in Killeen stated that they received more donations than normal during the pandemic. That's a pattern that Gager noticed too, but those numbers didn't carry over into 2021.
"Even in donation drought, we saw more donations than normal," said Gager. "This year, I think it's . . . I don't want to say it's ho-hum, back to normal, because we're not back to normal."
Gager called the pandemic donations "sympathetic gifts." With the health of our neighbors at the forefront of our minds in 2020, a rise in food donations followed. The drop in giving this year may explain why the money raised in the Feed the Need campaign is trailing behind last year.
Community centers, such as the Salvation Army, say they are grateful for the support Feed the Need provides, but they want to remind Texans that the call for help doesn't go away once the drive is over.
"We are completely dependent on the members of Central Texas, the residents of Central Texas, to help the Salvation Army take care of those in need in our community," said Major Jim Taylor of the Salvation Army of McLennan County.
Your donation does not have to be in the form of food. Volunteers are welcome at the Salvation Army to help prepare and serve meals. For those who have already made contributions to the pantries, your gifts have not gone unnoticed.
"We are so grateful for their gifts of time and money and the food," said Taylor. "The way they responded to the feed the need program has been amazing."
"It's not just helping our pantry, it's helping our community. You're helping not just Waco but Central Texas. And this is really important," said Gager.
With your help, these food pantries can bust the donation drought and keep their distributions running smoothly.
Are you in the giving spirit? You can donate to the Feed the Need food drive by visiting www.25cares.com. Be sure to make your gift before Friday night. Even a small amount can help put food on someone's table. Our local pantries would like to extend a friendly reminder that even when the campaign ends, the need to help those with food insecurity will still be here.