Community responds to the Houston Food Bank emergency

HOUSTON – It was a shocking accident. A hose at the Houston Food Bank was severed, releasing ammonia into a main storage area and causing 1.8 million pounds of perishable food to be thrown away.

It was a big blow for the largest food bank in the United States, but the Houston community rose to the occasion and flooded the facility with cash and support.

Nicole Lander is the Chief Impact Officer and says from individuals to companies, the response was impressive.

“We’ve seen an increase in volunteers overnight. We’ve seen donors come in. We’ve seen trailers of food come in overnight,” she said. “Our partner network which is resilient, they saw our disruption in our network and their process because we weren’t able to distribute at the level we normally do, they have even stepped up to help us during this time so we can’t thank them enough.”

Now the organization is calling for volunteers to help get this new influx of food stocked.

Fifty Consecutive Years of Thanksgiving Day Football Tradition

Their first Thanksgiving Day game was in 1960. This group of boys made it back to the Reilly Elementary school grounds every year for 50 years. Brent Parrott and Bryan Renfro started this tradition and now share it through their fun book, The Reilly Thanksgiving Invitational Story.

“I may not have seen these guys for a year,” Parrott said, “Especially after we all left for college and went on with our lives growing up into our adulthood. But once we got on the field it was like last year and we’re here together again.”

Their final game was 10 years ago but getting back together this year to celebrate the 60th anniversary of that first game will be special. Renfro add that Father Time is adding reality.

“When we were, of course, kids playing. We thought well one day we’ll grow old. And one day we’ll be sick or have cancer or something,” he said “Well here we are and a big reality of it is, it’s Alzheimer’s."

Houston Newsmakers with Khambrel Marshall airs Sunday at 10:30 a.m.

More information

Nicole Lander, Chief Impact Officer, Houston Food Bank

Brent Parrott, Co-Author, The Reilly Thanksgiving Invitational

Bryan Renfro, Co-Author, The Reilly Thanksgiving Invitational

About the Author:

Journalist, meteorologist, community leader and volunteer.