CYPRESS – From across the Houston area, people showed up in droves to the Houston Premium Outlets in Cypress. Thousands in need received food donations at the Houston Super Neighborhood Distribution site, organized by the Houston Food Bank and Cy-Hope, a local nonprofit organization.
The line of cars stretched over two miles along the Highway 290 feeder road. Families like the Pages waited for nearly three hours.
"I missed one the other day, and this is a like a dream come true," said father and husband, Brent Page.
Page said he came for water, canned goods, and snacks for his kids. He said he lost his job due to the COVID0-19 pandemic. He said he never thought he would need help like this.
"It's been life-changing," he said. "We never saw this coming, so it's kind of devastating."
College students also were in line. One car of underclassmen drove in from Prairie View.
Between the shutting down of on-campus buildings and the amount of online work required, many students are up late at night. There are fewer places to eat, student Myles Carter said.
"It's limited resources to where you can get food at this moment," he said. "And the number of resources we have at night aren't open."
Despite the wait, the process was simple. Once a vehicle made it to the distribution site, the driver lined up, and the staff provided 25 pounds of produce, 35 pounds of protein, and other items such as beef stew and bread.
Officials opened the Cypress location due to the need in the community.
"Fifty percent of children that attend Cypress ISD get free and reduced lunch," said Nicole Lander of the Houston Food Bank. "The need is immense out here."
The Cypress food distribution site is open every Wednesday from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Organizers said the drive continues as long as there is demand, and the property owner, Simon Properties, allows them to use the space.