Target Hunger is one of our many member agencies that have been positively involved in the Houston community during this challenging time. Check out their response to Covid-19 and how they manage to still impact the community below!
How has Covid-19 affected the way you serve the Houston community?
Our normal day-to-day includes picking up surplus food from grocery stores, produce distributors, retailers, hotels and convention centers, sports arenas, etc. and delivering this perfectly edible prepared and perishable food to over 90 charities across the city. COVID has affected the way we serve the community in many ways. With events being cancelled, hotels, convention centers sports arenas and caters, do not have the food they ordinarily donate. However, we received an abundance of quality items as kitchens temporarily closed, allowing us to provide even more food to our charity recipients. As for delivering to charities, a few of our recipients had to temporarily close due to the pandemic. This caused us to adjust our normal food rescue operations to fit the needs of the charities who were able to serve. Our food rescue drivers taking recommended precautions, such as wearing a mask and gloves and practicing social distancing.
In less than a month, we also created a program to provide chef-prepared meals to the community. We were still focused on our normal food rescue efforts. However, with such a great need in the city, we wanted to be able to provide additional meal relief to Houstonians in need. The “Dinner’s On Us” program is in partnership with Hess Corporation’s Food Services team, and together, we have provided over 60,000 meals to Houstonians in need. We launched this program in early April at a pop-up downtown distribution site, and concluded the downtown site on May 28. The program is still existing, however, we are now providing food to various charities and other outlets.
How has the ToolBank stepped up during this time?
Thanks to Tool Bank, we were able to rent the tables and megaphones that we needed to execute the distribution site downtown. On average, we had about 400 vehicles and at times, four distribution lines spanning a large parking lot. The tables and megaphones provided by the Tool Bank were essential and it was a relief knowing that we didn’t have to worry about expensive rental fees.
Has your mission/vision/guidelines changed after Covid-19?
Our mission and vision have not changed since COVID-19. Our primary objective continues to focus on fighting hunger and reducing food waste.
If yes how so?
Our guidelines have been affected with the COVID-19 crisis. All of our food rescue drivers and volunteers must wear a mask and gloves at all times, as well as sanitizing frequently throughout the day. In addition, we’re alerting our charity recipients and food donors to please wear masks when they interact with our drivers and volunteers.
How has the ToolBank helped your organization after Covid-19?
Once our downtown distribution came to an end and we were ready to return our rental items, the ToolBank made arrangements for us to drop off the items easily and conveniently, even while they were temporarily closed. We have always been able to depend on the ToolBank to supply our event needs at an affordable price!