Shelters, food banks need your help for holidays

November 25, 2009 7:56:31 AM PST
It's going to be a tough holiday season for many families. Some parents have lost their jobs while others just may be having a harder time making ends meet. For the first time ever, they're in need. The only problem is that the organizations they turn to for help need help themselves. Kids from Katy Taylor High School raised over $3,500 to feed hungry Katy ISD families this Thanksgiving. Those families came to The Black Eyed Pea in Katy to pick up their food Tuesday afternoon.

What we've discovered is that the need to put food on the table this year is greater than ever.

At the Star of Home Women and Family Emergency Center, plates are being made almost as fast as they're consumed.

"We have had an unprecedented number of people coming to Star of Hope," said Marilyn Fountain of Star of Hope.

The 277 room facility is full. In fact, some folks are even sleeping on mats because so many are in need of shelter. Facility leaders say they have enough turkeys and fixings to dish out Thanksgiving dinner, but there are specific needs beyond that.

"What we're lacking are chickens for some of the other meals. We need ground beef. We need bread. We really need bread," said Fountain.

At the Houston Food Bank, donations similarly have been on par with last year. The problem they say is a spike in demand because of the economy.

"The average agency served by Houston Food Bank reports an increase of 43 percent in the number of families requesting food assistance this year compared to before the recession," said Brian Greene, President of the Houston Food Bank.

Greene says they send out more food from here than they ever have - five giant truck loads full a day, feeding 80,000 people a week. Still, he says there are an estimated 53,000 people in the greater Houston area going hungry every day.

"Unfortunately we don't really meet the demand. We do the best that we can," said Greene.

Every little bit helps.

At the Open Door Mission, they are seeking donations of toys for kids for this Christmas. Donations are way off they say, off by about 40% as companies that have sponsored children in the past are choosing not to do so this year, presumably due to the economy.

The toys collected go to children of the men in the Open Door Mission program, a drug rehab and recovery program. They still need toys for 54 kids. They've got enough for about 100 of them so far.

For more on making donations to the organizations mentioned, click on the links below:

Star of Hope

Houston Food Bank

Open Door Mission

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