Grassroots groups and big businesses are keeping first responders and flood victims fed
When natural disasters strike, normalcy goes out the window. The most basic human needs are suddenly a challenge to meet—let alone the hard work of moving forward. As people reel from the impact of Hurricane Harvey, Texas-based and mobile organizations are helping to feed citizens and first responders. Local media like the Houston Press and Texas Monthly, as well as journalists like Andrea Grimes and Jia Tolentino, are keeping their lists of resources current, and we'll update this list as we learn more in the days ahead.
Even if people managed to ride out the storm at home, there's a good chance that the food around them isn't safe because of floodwater contamination or lack of electricity. Food banks all over Texas need money, supplies, and volunteers to keep their pantries stocked, and they're taking donations online. Feeding Texas has helpful information about how the whole process works and where the need is greatest.
Galveston County Food Bank
Houston Food Bank
Food Bank of Corpus Christi
Food Bank of the Golden Crescent
Southeast Texas Food Bank
Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley
Brazos Valley Food Bank
Central Texas Food Bank
San Antonio Food Bank
Since 2011, when a tornado cut a path of destruction through Joplin, Missouri, Stan Hays and his army of volunteers have gassed up their mobile cooking units and headed to disaster sites to feed first responders and displaced families. The group is largely made up of members of competition barbecue teams—skilled in cooking massive amounts of food in outdoor environments—and relies on help from individuals and corporations to continue their mission. OBR is currently getting assets into place and securing resources (money, donations in kind, and volunteers) to spring into action as soon as they're given the all-clear. Stay in touch with the group via their very active Facebook page.
Chefs are in the business of feeding people for all kinds of reasons, and right now sustenance and community are at the top of the list. While many restaurants are dealing with devastation of their own—flooded buildings, lack of electricity, ruined food, and employees struggling with their own losses—some are back in business and feeding hot, fresh meals to first responders and flood victims, often free of charge. Guerilla Gourmet proprietor James T. Canter is behind one such undertaking. He's provided, by his rough estimate, 3,000 meals to people in Victoria, Texas, since the storms started and aims to keep the effort going with a $10,000 fundraiser.
This Texas-grown grocery chain has a deeply loyal following within the state, and for good reason. The company's "Helping Here" philosophy emphasizes the importance of community, and for 110 years, it's provided financial support, emergency supplies, drinking water, and food in times of crisis. Currently, H.E.B. has dispatched mobile Disaster Response Units and kitchens (along with volunteers from its staff) to Victoria, Texas, to provide food, water, ice, dry goods, and medicine, as well as check cashing, bill paying, and ATM services. The kitchens are equipped to serve 2500 meals an hour to first responders and storm victims. H.E.B. will also donate $100,000 and allow customers to add donations to their grocery bills, with funds going to the American Red Cross for Texas Flood and Hurricane Relief, The Salvation Army, and Feeding Texas.
OK, it's not Texas-based, but this massive company is putting its money where its mochas are and letting customers make donations to the American Red Cross at the register and via the Starbucks app. The Starbucks Foundation has also donated an initial $250,000 to the American Red Cross and is exploring ways to further assist.
Got a Texas-based or benefitting organization that we missed? Send it to email@example.com and we'll check it out.