ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) — September is “Hunger Action Month.” Approximately 55 thousand people live in poverty, miss meals, or experience extreme hunger in The Food Bank of West Central Texas’ 13 county service area.  

Food insecurity in the Big Country has become an even bigger issue during the pandemic, as food banks like Food Bank of West Central Texas here in Abilene are seeing an increase in demand. 

“Food insecurity is not knowing where your next meal will come from,” said Management Analyst, Jamaica Gonzales. “Now with a lot of the shipping, a lot of the purchasing and a lot of the things in the world with the pandemic has come to a stop.” 

But food insecurity isn’t just a low-income issue, Gonzales tells us that it impacts everyone in the community. 

“We’re seeing a lot of people that wouldn’t normally come to the food bank,” said Gonzales.  

President and Chief Executive Officer, Ronnie Kidd, tell us that they distributed more than five million pounds of food last year. That’s about 24 percent more than pre-pandemic levels. 

“People were experiencing things that they had never experienced before,” said Kidd. 

Through the Feeding America Network, the Food Bank of West Central Texas can use its purchasing power to receive about 5 meals for each dollar of donated funds. 

“There have been supply chains disruptions, just like we’ve experienced at the grocery store, we’ve had the same problem with trying to get supplies and food into our warehouse. So, it’s important for us to keep having the funds to sustain that purchasing of food,” said Kidd.  

Kidd says he dedicates the food bank’s success to the Big Country.  

“People were really generous in the way that they stepped up to make sure that basic needs were met. And one of those basic needs is food, so we’re just extremely grateful for all the partners that we have,” said Kidd.  

And, their mission will continue to serve the Big Country by fighting hunger and feeding hope.