New food insecurity board launched to help fight hunger in Houston

Here's what we know.

HOUSTON – Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and the city council approved the food insecurity board last week.

The food insecurity board is an amendment to the city’s charter that’s only been done a few times in the past 20 years.

City councilman Edward Pollard said the board will help find answers to big issues in our city.

Houstonian Janeshia Singleton lost her income when the pandemic began.

“It hit me hard. Now, you have to figure out what you’re going to do and how you’re going to get food,” said Singleton.

Dianey Vargas and her mother Consuelo said they have also been through some tough times. The family said when they would attend food giveaways, they could not get what they were looking for.

“Sometimes there weren’t even beans that we would eat in the canned food,” said Vargas.

The troubles many people were facing is one of the reasons councilman Edward Pollard of District J said the need for a food insecurity board was so great.

“We have people coming from different cultures, customs, backgrounds, everyone eats food differently and everyone has different dietary needs, so we need to think about that as a diverse city,” said Pollard.

Last week, the Turner and city council approved an amendment to the city charter that would create Houston’s first food insecurity board.

In partnership with the Minaret Foundation, it will serve as an incubator to come up with policies and guidelines to better assist the community.

“The food insecurity board is important because we will put people who are involved in nutrition, health, non-profit, community all in one room,” said Pollard.

The board will be made of 19 members from different backgrounds and food experiences.

Lisa Helfman, Senior Director of Public Affairs at HEB, is one of those members. She created the non-profit “Brighter Bites” to help bring awareness to what she calls nutrition insecurity.

“We have the ability to look at all angles. We know our customers, we know the supply chain, we know the produce industry. We can synergies that in this history of what we’ve been doing to bring you all these viewpoints that other people might not have,” said Helfman.

The board will get input from families all across the Houston area, as well as, research what other cities do that works.

The board’s first meeting is on Wednesday, Dec. 8.